Eye For Film >> Movies >> Novo (2002) Film Review
Reviewed by: Chris
Think of the moment on your first date just before the first kiss - a moment that almost stretches in time. For Graham (Eduardo Noriega) - who suffers from short-term memory loss - that moment lasts a lifetime.
He has to write notes to remind himself who he is in love with. His lover (Anna Mouglalis) has the advantage that she knows his secrets, knows what turns him on, but can also delight in witnessing his newness, since each time for him is the first time. It's like a Groundhog Day in reverse, forever the thrill of the new.
Fast-cutting shots (reminiscent of À Bout de Souffle) draw us into a world where Graham and those around him in the office where he works have learnt to manage his condition. This is a world of romance and flirtation, with the women in his life are aware of his illness. The occasionally disjointed editing serves as a reminder of his mental state.
In the story, complications set in when Graham leaves one partner and 'sleeps with other people'. He maintains his childlike innocence and tries to be a decent, moral chap (made harder by being dashingly good looking). The people around him are faced with losing their own innocence and the ingenuous beauty that goes with that. It is their personalities, rather than his, that face the fall from Eden.
The whole story is told with a realistic, inquisitive, and sometimes kinky sexuality. Nudity is used to create a sense of wonder instead of the titters so common in a British movie or the embarrassment in an American one. With superb acting throughout, we can't help but admire how wonderfully at ease the French are with their bodies.
Novo does not have the impressiveness of Memento. Memento thought of the idea first. Novo is not a taut thriller. It is enjoyably lightweight, taking the device of short-term memory loss and using it - even if it is with limited success - to say something greater than the sum of its parts.Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2007