A ponderous fable about sweeping political change and sorely tested allegiences set in an unspecified but creepy land, “The Black Beach” is a film so heavy the viewer needs a forklift to rise from his seat afterward. Too tethered to literary notions, despite a carefully lit and lensed visual universe, second pic helmed by vet thesp Michel Piccoli settles for illustrating the heebie-jeebies of awaiting exit visas in a sinister administrative limbo instead of creating characters to care about.
When his country puts an end to years of dictatorship, writer and political activist A (Jerzy Radziwilowicz) stays behind while his French wife Sylvie (Dominique Blanc) returns to Paris to publish articles about the fledgling democracy. As a result, Sylvie is bannned from ever setting foot in her husband’s country and A and their daughter Joyce (Jade Fortineau) are stranded together. Laying low in A’s childhood house by the titular beach, A — who was once subjected to a mock execution — tries to retain his equlibrium in a landscape where friends and associates are subject to genuine execution. Deliberately and unrelentingly oppressive venture intends to tackle big issues — political fallout, loyalty, romance and parenthood under duress — but succeeds only in fits and starts.