Une Pure Coïncidence

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A handful of student revolutionaries from the Seventies meet up 30 years later to plan a robbery. This is not entirely correct, because they are friends, anyway, and always have been. They play cards together and go to each others’ birthday parties, have wives and children and probably mortgages.

Romain Goupil’s film appears to be a throwback to the experimental days of cinema verite. Either that or it’s a home movie, shot with a video camera, to an improvised script or no script at all.

At first, the artless construct is annoying because movies create an illusion of reality and don’t have to go this far. It is only when you realise what you are watching is not faked, but genuine, that Goupil’s intrusive close-ups take on an immediacy which excuses the wobbly camera-work and repetitive dialogue.

They suspect that an ordinary looking Bureau De Change in the suburbs of Paris is, in fact, a front for the illegal trafficking in refugees. The Bureau De Change is where the money is paid and they intend to raid it to steal evidence.

The planning can be hilarious, as when they practice overpowering an office worker, whom they suspect will be inside. These are middle-aged men, who are unfit and unskilled in just about everything to do with robbery and violence. Their motivation is one of civic duty. No one suggests for a moment that they should inform the police of their suspicions, the inference being that such an action would be naive.

It is difficult to imagine a more original approach to the modern thriller. Is this documentary, docudrama or a clever reconstruction of something that never actually happened?

You have to make up your own mind about that. Certainly, Goupil’s cast of urban terrorists have the look of wrinkly ex-radicals.

"Don’t mock my moccasins," one of them pleads, as the others start giggling. You can’t invent lines like that.

Reviewed on: 19 Apr 2007
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A group of pals hatch a plan to collect evidence of people trafficking from a Bureau De Change.

Director: Romain Goupil

Writer: Thomas Cheysson

Starring: Alain Cyroulnik, Romain Goupil, Olivier Martin, Nicolas Minkowski, Jean-Baptiste Poirot, Christian Portal, Julia Charpentier, Sanda Charpentier, Pascale Ferran, Tonie Marshall, Lita Recio

Year: 2002

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: France

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