Chaos And Desire

Chaos And Desire


Reviewed by: Stephanie Wolfe Murray

Alice (Pascale Bussieres) is a French Canadian seismologist working in Tokyo. She is asked to return to the place of her birth, because the tides have stopped. The magnetic power of the moon doesn't seem to work any more, as of the previous Thursday.

She doesn't want to go and somehow appears disconnected, cynical, all-knowing - sad. Omens abound. As she stares at the sushi on the conveyor belt in a downtown Tokyo bar, the camera takes us seamlessly to the moving floor at a Canadian airport. She's arrived.

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The local laboratory for measuring earth movements is woefully inadequate. She's back in a land of country bumpkins, who are all the more open to untoward happenings. It's true, there's no tide. Also, it's unseasonably hot for September. The air is languid, with an all-pervasive smell of sex.

Small forest fires burst to life and the yellow sea-planes douse them with water. One of these pilots, Marc Vandal (Jean-Nicholas Verreault), brings Alice's lost luggage from the airport. There's an immediate, almost tangible, physical rapport.

A rich melee of unlikely characters, coupled with the increasingly strange behaviour of others, as well as the elements, allows us to suspend belief in this hauntingly beautiful film.

Does the potentially devastating tidal malfunction come from a force that can be explained? Or does the human spirit cause the earth to move in wondrous ways? As the local wise-guy scientist suggests, perhaps it's not hydrogen, oxygen or carbon, but danger, desire and disorder.

Marc's elusive behaviour, Alice's sadness and sexual frustration, the conundrum of the tides all converge in a breathtaking denouement.

What a film! See it, see it.

Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2004
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A seismologist returns to her birthplace to investigate why the tides have stopped.

Director: Manon Briand

Writer: Manon Briand

Starring: Pascale Bussieres, Genevieve Bujold, Jean-Nicholas Verreault, Julie Gayet, Norman Helms, Vincent Bilodeau, Ji-yan Seguin

Year: 2002

Runtime: 114 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada


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