Review: ‘Memory Lane’

A group of twentysomethings take a walk down "Memory Lane" and head straight into a cinematic brick wall.

A group of twentysomethings take a walk down “Memory Lane,” and head straight into a cinematic brick wall, in debuting scribe-helmer Mikhael Hers’ nearly comatose ensemble dramedy. Meant perhaps as a French response to mumblecore, but sans humor and with more pontificating than mumbling, this stilted summertime portrait of seven friends with assorted issues is both narratively inept and too self-serious to be enjoyable. Following berths at Locarno and London, pic will see a small Gallic release in late November. Scattered Francophone slots are feasible.

In a Parisian middle-class suburb, band members Vincent (Thibault Vincon) and Christelle (Dounia Sichov) slowly — ever so slowly — grow intimate, while sisters Muriel (Lolita Chammah) and Celine (Stephanie Dehel) cope with their fatally sick father (Didier Sandre). Other characters mull about, bored, drunk or depressed, in a blase ambiance that grows increasingly irritating as the plot fails to surface. Some graphic coupling late in the game does little to boost the mood, which is mired in self-conscious perfs by thesps who act as though they’ve popped a few too many Quaaludes. Warm, naturalistic lensing by Sebastien Buchmann makes the ennui watchable enough.

Memory Lane

France

Production

An Ad Vitam release of a Les Films de la Grand Ourse production, in association with Cofinova 6, with participation of Centre National du Cinema et de l'Image Animee, CineCinema. (International sales: Films Distribution, Paris.) Produced by Florence Auffret. Directed by Mikhael Hers. Screenplay, Hers, Mariette Desert.

Crew

Camera (color), Sebastien Buchmann; editor, Pauline Gaillard; production designer, Catherine Cosme; costume designer, Catherine Cosme. Reviewed on DVD, Paris, Nov. 18, 2010. (In London Film Festival -- French Revolutions; Locarno Film Festival -- Filmakers of the Present, competing.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Thibault Vincon, Dounia Sichov, Lolita Chammah, Stephanie Dehel, Thomas Blanchard, David Sztanke, Louis-Ronan Choisy, Didier Sandre, Berangere Bonvoisin, Marie Riviere.
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  1. Plot? Why a plot? What is a plot. Oh, I know. Beginning, middle and end. Yes. That’s one
    way of looking at it. I don’t have a plot. My picture is like a painting. Paintings don’t have a plot.
    Micky Mouse thinking, pal. I like it or I don’t like it. All criticism is redundant. And everyone thinks they
    KNOW.

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