Review: ‘Supernova (Experiment #1)’

Intense, eerie pic makes the most of Super-8, digital video, spooky sound design and a talented cluster of actors to yield a pic that toys with regret, near-death experience and the unknowable, against a backdrop of full-bore summertime countryside. Ultra-low-budget, experimental effort from award-winning short filmmaker Pierre Vinour has fest potential.

Awakening from a coma after being hit by a meteor fragment, France’s attorney general has a change of heart and mind in “Supernova (Experiment #1).” Intense, eerie, faintly New Agey pic makes the most of Super-8, digital video, spooky sound design and a talented cluster of actors to yield a sort of UFO — Unidentified Filmic Object — that toys with regret, near-death experience and the unknowable, against a backdrop of full-bore summertime countryside. Ultra-low-budget, experimental-style effort from award-winning short filmmaker Pierre Vinour has fest potential.

Leading politician Simon Peyrelevade (Philippe Nahon) is driving along a deserted road, imagining — or remembering — the time he put, or perhaps will put, a gun to his own head to end it all. Exiting his car, he falls to the ground, having been clonked by a tiny piece of cosmic debris. When he comes to, he heads to his late father’s decrepit farm and refuses to return to Paris where his government colleagues sing his praises. A serene doctor named Gloria (Catherine Wilkening) pursues him, eager for info on what it’s like to be dead, or nearly so. Visits from disgruntled son Julien (Clement Sibony) indicate that his dad was far from a pussycat before the accident. Pic weaves an undeniable semi-supernatural spell.

Supernova (Experiment #1)

France

Production

A Tecumseh.works release of a Les Enrages presentation of an Ellabel production with support of CNC, Limousin Regional Council, General Council of Correze. (International sales: Ellabel Production, Paris.) Produced by Pierre Vinour. Co-producers, Alain Bellon, Anny Romand. Directed by Pierre Vinour. Screenplay, Vinour, Pascal Mezala.

Crew

Camera (color, Super-8, DV-to-35mm), Eric Weber; editors, Sylvain Leduc, Valentin Baillet; music/sound, Cyrille Dufay; set designer, Nelly Nahon. Reviewed at the Pathe screening room, Paris, July 9, 2003. Running time: 93 MIN.

With

With: Philippe Nahon, Catherine Wilkening, Clement Sibony, Marie-Anne Mestre, Jacques Serres, Francois Berland, Philippe Vuitteney, Brigitte Barilley.
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