Appellate Judge James A. Stewart has seen it all.
"We already have lots of characters in our story."
Since we start off with three different pairs of Orpheus and Eurydice, that's an understatement in You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet (Vous N'avez Encore Rien Vu).
Word of a playwright's death has brought a group of actors—real-life French actors, playing themselves—to one of his many homes for the reading of his will. First, though, there's a video; the writer (Denis Podalydès, Park Benches) wants the actors—who have been in his play, Eurydice—to see the rehearsals of a relaunch done by a young company.
The new production looks interesting enough. The young company is using one of those non-traditional spaces, a warehouse full of trash barrels and graffiti. What starts happening among the assembled actors is what you're supposed to be watching, though. It's small at first, but you see the older actors who've played in Eurydice before speaking their lines again as they watch.
Soon, two pairs of Orpheus and Eurydice (Pierre Arditi and Sabina Azéma, Lambert Wilson and Anne Consigny) are acting out the role, traveling—at least in their imaginations—into a hotel room and a train station. Sometimes, there's even a 24-style split screen as two or three casts perform the same scenes. Add title cards here and there (in French with English subtitles, like the film) for another reminder of the film's, well, filmness. Want more strange? Composer Mark Snow did music for The X-Files.
This is the surreal, artificial, talky, ambiguous foreign film you've heard about—probably in jokes and parodies. Are the actors recalling their own parts—or their own affairs? What is the ultimate meaning of it all? I can't say, because it would give away too much, but there does appear to be a meaning to all the metaphor that Director Alain Resnais (Wild Grass) puts out there. He's working with plays from Tony Award-winner Jean Anouilh.
The actors play their parts with both a theatrical exaggeration and a sense of realism that'll make you wonder what they're thinking. It carries you along, even if you don't know quite what you're seeing until the end (and even then, won't be absolutely sure).
The quality of the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen image is solid, both in the movie we're watching and the one the actors are watching. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track suffices. The only extra is a trailer, which sets up the premise in a monologue from the film.
You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet isn't likely to change your mind if you're not a fan of foreign films. With some interest in French films, I found it held my interest throughout. I suspect that the more familiar you are with the actors, it gets to be more and more of a treat, so anyone who's been haunting the art houses should at least rent it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Kino Lorber
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