Review: ‘The Walking Man’

Sam Raimi

A mysterious loner moves through two decades of Parisian life without making a dent in "The Walking Man."

A mysterious loner moves through two decades of Parisian life without making a dent in “The Walking Man,” Aurelia Georges’ strangely hermetic helming debut. Loosely based on the life of sometime author Vladimir Slepian (a name kept alive thanks to philosopher Gilles Deleuze), pic asks how it’s possible for a person to leave so little record of a life on earth, but the eccentric protag remains too much a cipher to leave a record on the viewer’s brain either. Gallic to the extreme, tale is unlikely to be seen outside Francophone territories and fests.

Russian emigre Viktor Atemian (Cesar Sarachu, “The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes”) publishes “Son of a Dog,” which briefly makes him an intellectual darling. Fascinated by this emaciated man, photographer Daniel (John Arnold) and wife Irene (Judith Henry) try to develop a friendship, but Atemian keeps the world at arm’s length. The 1970s and ’80s pass with much writing but no publication, as Atemian becomes more insular and slowly descends into oblivion. Georges is good at emphasizing his solitary stance, but this attractive, airless film reveals little about either its period or its characters.

The Walking Man

France

Production

A Chateau Rouge production. (International sales: Rendez-vous Pictures, Paris.) Produced by Cedric Walter. Directed by Aurelia Georges. Screenplay, Georges, Elodie Monlibert.

Crew

Camera (color), Helene Louvart; editor, Jean-Christophe Hym; music, Arnaud Gauthier; production designer, Eric Barboza; costume designers, Nathalie Raoul, Caroline Tavernier. Reviewed on DVD, Rome, June 1, 2007. (In Cannes Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Cesar Sarachu, John Arnold, Judith Henry, Mireille Perrier, Florence Loiret-Caille, Miglen Mirtchev, Gilles David, Francoise Meunier, Anne See.

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