Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Kyla Kenedy, Alain Chabat, Jonathan Lambert, Élodie Bouchez, Jon Heder, Eric Wareheim, John Glover, Lola Delon, Matt Battaglia, Michel Hazanavicius, Roxane Mesquida
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2015
Jason Tantra (Alain Chabat) wants to shoot a film, while working as a camera man on a cooking show with a host in a rat costume, Dennis (Jon Heder), who constantly complains about skin rash. Nevertheless Tantra thinks he is the ideal protagonist. The producer Bob Marshall (Jonathan Lambert) is interested in Tantra’s project, but he has one condition before he really puts his support into it: Tantra has 48 hours to find the perfect groan of pain to really sell the film. In the meantime, Reality (Kyla Kenedy) and her father (Matt Battaglia) shoot a hog on the inside of which, Reality finds a videotape. But maybe Reality is just the protagonist of Bob’s other movie venture, which is directed by the eccentric Zog (John Glover). And maybe her school director Henri’s (Eric Wareheim) dream of moving through town in women’s clothes isn’t actually a dream, explaining why Reality would see him. But if Reality and Henri are characters in Zog’s film, how can Henri be in therapy with Tantra’s wife Alice (Élodie Bouchez)?
So far I liked all Dupieux films I’ve seen, although Wrong Cops left an increasingly sour aftertaste and all of them had some part I found a little problematic. With Réalité that problematic bit was missing. Instead it was a glorious exercise in meta level fuckery.
When Réalité starts, you think that you have it all figured out. You know what’s real and what isn’t. And then connection after connection of plotlines is uncovered and it becomes increasingly impossible to decipher what is text within text and what is reality within text. Every plotline is both, and of course, none of it is actually real, so how much sense does it really make to try and figure out who is the product of whose imagination.
Nevertheless I couldn’t help but trying to anyway and the film’s spiraled-circular self-referenitality means that it’s impossible, making my mind stretch and buzz in a very pleasant way – like timetravel movies do that screw with timelines. Dupieux certainly doesn’t provide a solution for the conundrum he creates, but I neither expected that, nor did I actually want it.
But that meta deconstruction isn’t the movie’s only charm. It is filled again with the simple absurdity of all Dupieux movies – starting with a cooking show where the host wears a rat costume to Zog’s approach to directing, it offers much weirdness, mostly connected to film making, that is just plain entertaining. It just made me laugh a whole lot.
Interestingly enough, there is barely any film music in this one – quite contrary to Wrong Cops that was almost an extended album promotion video for Mr Oizo. Although I do like Mr Oizo, I didn’t mind it in this case, it just struck me.
The biggest drawback of the film – for me – was that Dolph Springer isn’t in it. Other than that, I really enjoyed it.