Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

Two films today, Bartleby and Le Temps du Loup

Bartleby was mostly odd. A public records office employs the eponymous filing clerk who seems to be fairly far along the autism spectrum. He starts well in the tedious office routing, but begins to fail to coöperate with his manager, coworkers or norms of society. The manager can't work out out to deal with this, even firing Bartleby seems not to affect him, but the manager can't abandon Bartleby to vagrancy.

I should read the Melville short story at some point. The film was interesting, but the plot didn't really fill the film satisfactorily.

At the other end of the scale in scope, in Le Temps du Loup Haneke attempts to explore the foundations of society. Some unspecified apocalyptic event has thrown a modern European country (hard not to think of as being France) into critical shortages of all fundamentals of life; food, water. The mechanisms of the state seem to have stopped, and the remaining people are left to survive.

Basically it's a thinking-person's Mad Max. Instead of following the heroic exploits of a testosterone charged alpha-male; the protagonists are a quiet middle-class family. Their attempt to survive as a family group fails and they are forced to join a loose group of other people to continue to live.

Haneke tries to cover all that makes a society; coöperation and lack of it, leadership, power dynamics, sex, love, religion and hope. It's ground that's been covered many times by science-fiction authors, but possibly not by serious cinema. In the end he's created a fascinating, worthy but very slow moving film. I wasn't particularly emotionally engaged by any of the characters, but was impressed by Anaïs Demoustier's performance as Eva, the young-teenage daughter.

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