Daily Archives: September 8, 2006

Time To Leave

A self-absorbed and not especially likable gay fashion photographer (Melvil Poupaud) discovers he’s about to die from cancer in this 2005 French feature by the highly uneven Francois Ozon (Swimming Pool, Under the Sand), who doesn’t have much to say about his subject that’s fresh. The French title, Le Temps Qui Reste, translates as the time that remains, which at least has some relation to the film’s attempt at lyricism. Jeanne Moreau is around for a touching cameo as the hero’s beloved grandmother, and there’s also a striking three-way sex scene. With Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi. In French with subtitles. 85 min. (JR)… Read more »

Cheap Thriller [13 (TZAMETI)]

From the Chicago Reader (September 8, 2006). — J.R.

13 (Tzameti)

* (Has redeeming facet)

Directed and written by Gela Babluani

With Georges Babluani, Olga Legrand, Philippe Passon, Aurelien Recoing, Vania Vilers, and Nicolas Pignon

An English-language remake of this French thriller is already in development. But the film recycles so much I’d be surprised if it doesn’t get recycled in turn.

Fight Club has been cited as one of the key models for Gela Babluani’s 13 (Tzameti), but Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975) seems far more relevant, at least for its first half. In The Passenger an American journalist (Jack Nicholson) on an aborted assignment in North Africa encounters the corpse of a man he met earlier in his hotel and decides on impulse to take over the man’s identity, turning up for all of his appointments and seeing what happens. They lead into espionage and arms sales for a terrorist group, and as the journalist proceeds to Spain to keep the appointments, he does his best to elude people who are chasing him down in one or the other of his two identities.

The hero of 13 (Tzameti), a 22-year-old Georgian laborer named Sebastien (Georges Babluani, a younger brother of the filmmaker), struggling in a French seaside town to support his family, is replacing the roof of a neighbor’s house when he overhears that the neighbor (Philippe Passon), a feeble morphine addict, is expecting a package in the mail that will make him and his wife (Olga Legrand) wealthy.… Read more »