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Camille Rewinds (Camille Redouble) by Noémie Lvovsky

March 6, 2013

Dealing with the past, family ties and the troubles inherent to long-term love stories are the themes Noémie Lvovsky usually explores in her films and Camille Rewinds is no exception, but while her four previous efforts contained an elevate degree of originality her new feature will unavoidably remind other works, mainly Coppola’s Peggy Sue Got Married though in my opinion the kind of territory Lvovsky explores here is more akin to the one brilliantly revealed a few years ago by her compatriot Michel Gondry with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. We meet Camille (played by Lvovsky) and Éric (Samir Guesmi) at the end of their marriage, they have been together for twenty-four years, they were in their teens then, approaching forty now, Éric has left her for a younger woman, Camille is an alcoholic and a B movie actress, her life is a mess: at a New Year’s party she drinks so much to lose consciousness, when she wakes up she is astounded to realize she is back to 1986, to her high school days, she becomes a girl on a mission to avoid the mistakes that have ruined her life.

Camille Rewinds is not a film about time travel – and if it was it would be more like Safety Not Guaranteed by Colin Trevorrow than Back to the Future by Zemeckis – though it plays with many typical situations of it for comedic effect (Camille returns to her youth with her older body and features but no one seems to notice) this is a film about the unchangeability of the past and so the necessity to learn to live with it even when your life as a forty years old is light years away from the way you imagined it when you were young. Camille Rewinds was nominated for a record 13 César – the French Oscars – but got no one and I guess that so many nominations and not even a prize are a good indication of the strengths and weaknesses of the film: there is no way to deny the talent at work here, starting with the memorable opening titles to the acting – Samir Guesmi is very convincing in both versions – younger and older – Éric, to the successful cameos by Jean-Pierre Léaud and Mathieu Amalric everything looks great, but in Lvovsky’s previous films we have got used to better laughs and better food for thought.

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