Last Updated: March 7, 2012By Tags: ,

French director Alain Cavalier revisits his life with long-dead Irène, the wife who died in a car crash thirty-five years ago. To use the French qualifier for extreme self-centeredness, this is the “nombrilist” or belly button-focused “docu par excellence.”

Cavalier, a thorough craftsman of much promise in the sixties and author of a number of good films uses voice-over, objects around the home—a table lamp, shells, garden furniture—and a number of different settings to reminisce about Irène about whom we don’t learn much except her insecurities. Nor do we understand if this complacent exercise is a tribute to a much-loved woman or to one whose more or less completely faded image Cavalier wishes to capture once more before setting on the ultimate journey himself.

The disquiet, the foreboding that accompanies the director’s careful recounting of his diary entries create their own mood, hypnotic at times. The film’s monotony is saved from being completely boring by Cavalier’s own stunning cinematography that frames each shot in Edward Hopperish immediacy.

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