Monday, March 12, 2007

If You're Looking to See a Bad Movie...

You should go ahead and rent the movie La Moustache. I originally read about this movie in one of the girly-froofy-"men's" magazines that I read (Esquire), and the premise of the movie that the magazine laid out sounded pretty interesting. The movie was supposed to have been about a man who, on a whim, shaves off the mustache that he's had for years and years to play a joke on his wife; the man is then thrown a curveball when his wife claims that he's never had a mustache. Based on this premise, I suspected that this movie would be whimsical and joyful, a la Amelie or something out of Monty Python, or at least poignantly beautiful, like one of the myriad of sad, yet achingly funny movies that Bill Murray has been making in recent years.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first fifteen minutes of the movie were just as advertised; that is, a man shaves his mustache off. The wife denies it. After that, though, instead of hilarity ensuing, the man and his wife just get progressively angrier and angrier with each other as the woman continues to deny the fact that he ever had a mustache. We do learn that the woman may be a pathological liar based on an incident that is revealed from her childhood by her brother. However, even if she is a liar, the man is still up a creek due to the fact that no one else he knows is able to remember that he has ever had a mustache either.

The anger continues, and the man jumps on a random plane which is going to Hong Kong. The narrative then moves to about twenty minutes with very little dialogue while the man rides in ferries. That's right; with the audience not knowing what is going on, the director opted to film the man taking boat rides. Eventually the man makes it to what we can only assume is Bali, which is based on the fact that his wife had a series of photographs that was marked Bali from a vacation that the couple apparently went on a vacation to.

The man lives in Bali for an amount of time equaling the amount of time necessary to regrow his facial hair, and, one day, he comes back to the hotel room he's been staying in to find that his wife (who he left in France when he travelled to Hong Kong and with whom he has had no contact with) is packing up clothes and saying that this had been a good vacation and that they need to catch the flight in the morning. She acts as if she has been with him the whole time. She then makes some comment about how he should probably shave before they go back to France.

He shaves his mustache again, and she likes it and she remembers that he had a mustache. The film closes with the man opening his eyes after being asleep with his wife.

That's it. That's the whole movie.*

Now, this film leaves the viewer with many questions, not the least of which is "WHAT IN GOD'S NAME JUST HAPPENED?" Is the man crazy? Is his wife crazy? Is she a pathological liar? If so, how did she find him in Bali? Was this some elaborate practical joke that went astray? Do I just not understand the conventions of French cinema? Neither my girlfriend, my engineer roommate, nor I (all of which are fairly bright, college-educated people) could figure out just what the point of this movie was.

If anyone out there in cyberland can figure this out and will explain it to me in a way that I can understand it (that is, with pictures and farm animal sounds) I will be forever grateful.

*We missed about three minutes of the movie because the dvd that we rented was bad, and refused to play those three minutes, no matter how much cajoling we offered. Perhaps everything gets wrapped up in those three minutes, but I highly doubt it as those minutes were towards the middle of the film, which is generally where the rising action of a narrative occurs, and not the climax or the denouement, which, come to think of it, I didn't ever find. Come on, French film makers! Denouement is even a French word! Use it in your movies!


Greg said...

Bill Murray's been depressing the hell out of me lately. But hey, at least there's no "Ghostbusters 3."

Analyst Catalyst said...

No "Ghostbusters 3" yet. I thought that I heard that they were going to do another one.

superaustin said...

I was also interested in this film based upon Esquire's recommendation. I had sort of been under the impression that the movie was darker than you'd assumed, but still more surreal than it appears to be.

I'll never believe Esquire again. In fact, this month they're trying to convince me that Hillary Swank doesn't look like a man. They almost had me fooled... but now I know for a fact that they lie. Thanks, AC!

:: mandy :: said...

Why thank you, venerable AC. I've been searching for a bad movie to watch.

And might I suggest that this was just a dream-sequence movie? From what you said, it sounds like it was all a really bad dream, complete with incoherencies and moments when you yourself wonder why you're doing what you're doing but just can't seem to stop jumping on ferries.

Just a thought.

Analyst Catalyst said...

Supes, Esquire nearly convinced me of the very same this month. The way I figure it, both she and Neve Campbell are at least half-horse, based on the horse-face-ness, which contributes to the manish qualities about them. Because, horses are very nearly men.

Mandy, it is a valid argument that it was all a dream, and one that I hadn't considered. My only argument is that the idea that it is a dream is never hinted at, other than the shot where he opens his eyes at the end, but, I suppose it should be noted that directly before that, in I believe one fluid camera shot, the movie shows him falling asleep with his wife, which would lead me to believe that it wasn't all a dream.

Sadly, the dream explanation is the only way that it all makes sense though, in my opinion. Even the people on all seem to hate it.