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August 02, 2018

The Great Game


Le Grand Jeu
Nicolas Pariser. - 2015
Icarus Films / Distrib Films

Everything about The Great Game is muted. Not only the blues and oranges that dominate the images, but also the unheard bits of dialogue, and the action. A politician is murdered, hit by a car. What we see is a partial view of the politician walking out of the frame, followed by the car. But the viewer only hears the thud of the car, followed by the sight of loose newspaper pages fluttering in the aftermath.

The central character, Pierre Blum, is a failed novelist, described as distant, remote in his relationships. Whether the film is intended to reflect Blum's view of the world as seen by others, I can not say. There are some intriguing ideas here, although I suspect Pariser's debut film may be too cerebral even for those who have immersed themselves the films of Eric Rohmer, or more recently, Eugene Green.

Blum has been enlisted by power broker to anonymously write a book designed to provoke political discourse in France, as well as affect the career of a political rival. The publication turns out to not only be provocative, but life threatening for Blum, his patron, and various people in Blum's life. Maybe its very well hidden from the public, but it was hard for me to imagine similar kind of machinations among such firebrands as Ann Coulter and Dinesh D'Souza.

This is one of the films I wish I could have liked better, primarily because of the cast. Those who follow French cinema would be more than familiar with Melvil Poupard, here as Blum, and Andre Dussollier as Paskin, the power broker. Clemente Poesy appears as the possible romantic interest for Blum who finds herself emotionally and politically compromised. Nicolas Pariser won the Louis Delluc Prize for Best First Film in 2015. After festival screenings, this film is now getting a U.S. release on home video formats.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 2, 2018 09:11 AM