Carre Blanc: Evil guys with ties

Another quick review from the Melbourne International Film Festival

Jean-Baptiste Leonetti’s first feature film, Carre Blanc, has been compared to such dystopian literary works as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984, and even to Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece, Brazil. All of these comparisons are a little ambitious and beyond the reach of Leonetti’s film – a fairly decent entry into the dystopian genre.

Carre Blanc follows a couple living in a dystopian universe, a barely revealed world of corporate control and oppressive machismo. You know, people with ties casually bash people who don’t have ties, sometimes people with ties try to bash other people with ties, and then a small glimmer of human hope is revealed when somebody with no tie interjects. That sort of thing. People are being made into food for other people. The population is in decline for reasons never stated. Bleak stuff.

At the centre of the movie is a love story between a couple, Phillipe and his wife, who are being torn apart by his choice to embrace this fascist existence and climb to the top of the nightmarish corporate ladder – a decision made after his future wife saves him from a suicide attempt in his teen years. The viewer’s hopes rest principally on the possibility of Phillipe’s enlightenment.

It all seems to function at that very mechanical A-symbolises-B kind of level that often infects the dystopian genre with a diagrammatic hollowness. It’s not bad, but it’s not particularly interesting and only weakly echoes the greater works which have occupied this space.

The film looks incredible thanks to David Nissen’s cinematography. If you are a student of dystopian fiction/film then this one is worth a look.

James Curnow is an obsessive cinephile and the owner and head editor of CURNBLOG. His work as a film journalist has been published in a range of print and digital publications, including The Guardian, Broadsheet and Screening the Past. James is currently working through a PhD in Film Studies, focused primarily on issues of historical representation in Contemporary Hollywood cinema.

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