A Lost Man

Typically Gallic mix of exotica and existentialism looks like it might get lost beyond fest dates.

With:
With: Melvil Poupaud, Alexander Siddig, Darina al-Joundi, Yasmine Lafitte.

An itinerant French photog and a taciturn Arab wander around Syria, Jordan and Lebanon to little effect in “A Lost Man,” which appears to have also lost its script in transit. Pointless exercise in search for identity is a big step back by Lebanese-born filmer Danielle Arbid after her flawed but promising first feature, “In the Battlefields” (2004). Typically Gallic mix of exotica and existentialism looks like it might get, rightfully, lost beyond fleeting fest dates.

First seen running scared through the streets of civil war-torn Beirut in 1985, Fouad (Alexander Siddig) is still dazed, 22 years later, working in a cabbage field in northern Syria. At the border crossing into Jordan, he’s thrown together with an inquisitive photographer, Thomas (Melvil Poupaud), and the pair end up together in Amman. Thomas, who can’t stop clicking away even when he’s having sex with a local hooker (Yasmine Lafitte), becomes obsessed with discovering Fouad’s identity and past history. Neither main character is remotely sympathetic — especially the intrusive, culture-surfing Thomas — and pic’s resolution, featuring Fouad’s wife (Darina al-Joundi), is plain unbelievable. At screening caught, ultra-sharp HD lensing was virtually indistinguishable from 35mm.

A Lost Man

France

Production: An MK2 release and production, with participation of Canal Plus, CNC. (International sales: MK2, Paris.) Produced by Marin Karmitz, Nathanael Karmitz. Directed, written by Danielle Arbid.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Celine Bozon; editor, Nelly Quetier. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 18, 2007. French, Arabic, English dialogue. Running time: 99 MIN.

With: With: Melvil Poupaud, Alexander Siddig, Darina al-Joundi, Yasmine Lafitte.

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