Film is an art that deals with time passing, and memory, and there are many cinematic fictions, fantastical, dramatic or humorous, that draw on paradoxes and time travel to tell stories that play with dreams and memories, utopia and uchronia. Camille redouble is a moving film that conjugates all these at the same time, in a way that is bitter-sweet, like life itself.
Noémie Lvovsky’s new film doesn’t hide its debt to Peggy Sue Got Married, (1986), the masterpiece by Francis Ford Coppola in sentimental mode, in which Kathleen Turner played a woman at two different ages in her life, who is returned to the past. Lvovsky admires Coppola but her film is in no way a remake or even a tribute.
The filmmaker invents a deceptive comedy of remarriage that plays against expectations of the dream of a second chance (returning to the past to change the present) to offer instead a melancholic vision of life, in which one is compelled to make the same choices, including those that turn out badly.
Love may end unhappily, in general, but that is no reason to shy away from the experience of it. Camille redouble is thus the story of a successful divorce, but is also about working through a double bereavement, that of a youthful love, and of a beloved mother, who Camille is lucky enough to see one more time before her passing away.
By casting actors and actresses in roles that do not always match their real ages, and herself to play Camille at sixteen, while in no way coming across as or ridiculous, Noémie Lvovsky manages to bring a visual truth and a lively, inspired cinematic form to her subject. For film is also about appearances.Olivier Père