|MARS ET AVRIL - DVD|
|ARTICLES - CANADIAN FILM REVIEWS|
|Written by Kindah Mardam Bey|
|Tuesday, 19 March 2013 01:13|
Title: Mars & Avril
Director: Martin Villeneuve
Principle Cast: Jacques Languirand, Caroline Dhavernas, Paul Ahmarani, Robert Lepage
Distributor: Alliance Films
Length: 1 hr 31 minutes
Release Date: March 19th 2013
Reviewed By: Kindah Mardam Bey
Admittedly, after seeing Mars et Avril I can only think of “e” words. This esoteric entity is enchanting and enigmatic – all in e-flat. I am glad I have the DVD of this film as it may take several viewings of Mars et Avril to capture the thoughts and philosophies behind this film.
At the heart of Mars et Avril is a love story between three people. In a version of futuristic Montreal, renowned celebrity musician, Jacob Odus (Jacques Languirand) is in his seventies and does not speak to his female fans but has instruments made out of them that he plays. He is hugely popular for his music that sounds more like an emotion or a sensual journey that seems to play right to the core of his female fan’s passions. Arthur (Paul Ahmarani) transforms portraits of these female muses into blueprints for the instruments that his father (Robert Lepage) – or rather a deceased version of his father that is resuscitated by technology to have a televised 3D head attached to a human body - makes. When Avril (Caroline Dhavernas), a photographer who studies vacumns, uses Arthur to get to Jacob, both men inevitably fall in love with her and must decide where their loyalties, and music lay. Then it gets weird, like Brazil weird.
We discover that Jacob, even though he is in his seventies and has the ability to stimulate women with his music, is in fact, a virgin. We then discover that the world in which they exist is full of truths and non-truths, perceptions and misperceptions. It felt like we were Alice chasing the rabbit down the rabbit hole then entering into intergalactic time travel from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Mars et Avril is deliciously philosophical in nature. Concepts of music, breathing, vacumns, reality, time, innocence, and so much more seemed to spill out of every aspect of this film, from the script to the visuals. Speaking of which, the film is visceral in nature. You feel Jacob’s music and in this steam-punk-meets-science-fiction complex you get this visual experience that makes you “feel” the film as well. The film has some truly unique science fiction aspects to it, but you can see the older science fiction films and concepts that Martin Villeneuve took from in order to artfully construct his version of futuristic Montreal.
I was particularly taken with the concept of the instruments made from female muses. The instruments looked like aspects of the women and the idea of a woman’s body being treated like a beautiful instrument that could emit an equally beautiful sound did not go amiss in the subtext.
Standing out from other science fiction features, this film isn’t about blowing things up, or alien invasions, but is a love story that considers time and space within its reflection.
My comfort levels were definitely pushed to see a man in his seventies having a relationship with a woman in her early thirties. It would have been more original to have the famous musician be a woman and a younger man courting her. Only Helen Mirren usually gets those roles, but perhaps Judi Dench could have done the role of Jacob justice.
Ultimately, I couldn’t buy the love story between Avril and Jacob, but the look of the film and the philosophical components will keep me coming back to this feature to asses and reassess regularly, which is why I recommend you pick this film up…if you are intrigued by Brazil, then you will be equally as intrigued by Mars et Avril.
The special features were all in french, so english-speaking Canadians will have to live without those on the DVD.