jake panek’s review published on Letterboxd:
“And down comes the curtain.”
already i’m having trouble putting my thoughts into words. it’s hard to describe the events you’re seeing, why you’re seeing them, and why none of it fails (for me). i suppose it could be because of the rhythm that underlines the entire prometheus bound group’s acting exercise and even the brief, rapidly intercut shots of colin stamping envelopes, but after that’s over and the characters are simply sitting around and discussing what happened it seems as if it the actors are just themselves. the conversation between frédérique and the man at the restaurant that’s shot entirely through a mirror is wonderful. it’s an odd, indecipherable 90 minutes, but it’s also a surefire way to guarantee that you have my attention.
had a brief intermission and looked up the film and learned that it was shot entirely in 6 weeks with not much of a script, so do what you will with that information
i guess i was a little too optimistic. part 2 still has a lot going for it, mainly in the visual department, but narratively (except for colin discovering the notes) it doesn’t really do anything new, which isn’t necessarily bad but just a little disappointing. the main exercise in the prometheus bound group here is incredibly unsettling, maybe even a little sexual, and while in the moment i was disturbed, the feeling that it left with me (as well as the discussion they have afterwards about it) has made me warm up to it a bit. colin playing his harmonica is starting to get a little old, though. i’ll still press on with my fingers crossed; saying i only watched 3 hours from a 13 hour movie won’t sound as cool when i bring this up in casual conversation.
okay, now we’re getting somewhere. éric rohmer’s exposition dump is nothing more than that, an exposition dump, but if i’m being perfectly honest i’m not surprised in the slightest that this is how the film is choosing to further its story. the shots of colin outside of l’angle du hasard are just flawless and him suddenly speaking after being mute for the first two parts... happened. the acting exercise in this one actually is acting and not them being the dancers in climax which is automatically a step up, it’s just the fact that it’s really good that makes it even better.
maybe i should count it as a flaw that i’m just now really getting into this after sinking over 400 minutes of my day into it but i won’t. definitely isn’t as narratively centered as part 3 but the movie already has a hook in me and i don’t think it’ll be coming out now. still don’t know much surrounding the hangout spot but i suppose that’s the point, isn’t it? i don’t have much to say (a.k.a. i had written a review right after i had finished this part but letterboxd and/or my phone hates me so it deleted everything and now i’m rewriting what i remember writing and i’m tired) but the last 15-20 minutes kinda drag. time to get some rest and power through the rest of this when i wake up.
lot of firsts in this part, for example:
- first time we see anyone eat (from what i recall)
- the seven against thebes group together in a place that isn’t their rehearsal spot
- the first time the seven against thebes’s rehearsal actually kinda resembles a play
- the prometheus bound group leaving their rehearsal spot
the focus on the letters frédérique steals from the chess player and the hangout spot (or is it a cafe? i don’t know) increasing and renaud stealing the money doesn’t kick up the pace by much but it makes this the most narratively investing part thus far. colin almost reverting back to his annoying asshole phase with him sitting in the hangout spot making random noises was not it for me. this one surprisingly passed by in what felt like a short amount of time.
drags a little bit even if the narratives are beginning to intertwine and become a little more investing. thomas always did kinda creep me out so the film revealing that he might be involved with whatever the thirteen is (as well as the chess player) and him saying he wants to reestablish it or something was cool. i feel like way too much of this part was spent on quentin just running around and that was pretty much useless and then lili and pauline killed a man and i was back on board. colin is kind of a creep (he kinda harassed pauline and he won’t shut the fuck up with his stupid harmonica or repeating the word crew really loudly in the street) but did we really think a man who looks like this wouldn’t be? the two kids who obviously weren’t in the movie that followed colin as he wandered around spouting random bullshit was pretty funny.
pauline/emilie photocopying the letters containing unknown information about pierre and igor and the subsequent meeting of thomas, etienne, and lucie de graffe is by far the most intriguing part of this film so far, but not much else in this part held my attention, which i think might be because of the fact that we don’t see any of the members of the seven against thebes group. colin meeting with that man and running into thomas was interesting but a few minutes later i had forgotten about it completely (as well as lili and whatever the hell she was up to). the blood ritual marriage between frédérique and renaud wasn’t bad, i guess, but... why? just gotta get through this final part and then i can get some rest and have nightmares about that ugly fuck colin and his fucking harmonica (why did... that woman (i still don’t know these people or their names) encourage him to play that cacophonous clusterfuck for pauline?! don’t encourage that fucking bullshit!). someone needs to write a proper plot summary of what is going on because i’m barely getting by on non-chronological one on wikipedia.
well, i guess this time i was too pessimistic (i just can’t get this right, can i?). i don’t know if it’s me or the movie but i feel like there was some sort of acceptance of the lack of closure, an admission of failure; the empty shots of the streets instill a feeling of being lost but as it keeps cutting back you familiarize with it a bit more. i’m still struggling to gather what the central theme(s) might be - fear of the past and how it’ll affect the future (or vice versa) or quixotic pursuits of discovery and change, maybe? - but letting it sink in, i feel like i’m appreciating this more and more, even the parts i found unnecessary or boring. maybe i’m just saying that since there’s so many beautiful shots of the sea and the sunset and the beach in this part, but i’m pretty confident it’s the other one. that final shot of the member of the thebes group in front of the statue left me breathless.
edit 5/17/21: raising my rating from 80