11 June 2015 | tony_le_stephanois
The introverted family member of Diva
La lune dans le caniveau is definitely different in comparison to director Beineix's much more straightforward crime film Diva (1981). It is more like an introverted, dramatic family member. We observe a man who tries to deal with his mistress and his alcoholic brother, and wants revenge for the death of his sister. Is this story very interesting? I wouldn't say so. Most scenes are long and tedious (the film has a two hour runtime). Only real fans of either Beineix or the actors will keep their concentration until the very end.
The pleasure for the viewer lies elsewhere: the stylistic, colorful cinematography. The film has playful use of lights EVERYWHERE. It is visually incredibly detailed for a film from begin 80's, which were usually bleak on purpose. Both films from Beineix, Diva and this one, weren't praised for its renewal. On the contrary: they were equally bashed by the critics. Style over substance, they said. Which, as an argument about film, seems always ridiculous to me. Isn't cinema BY DEFINITION about style? It is not a book on screen, after all. How is a film as 8 1/2 not style over substance?
While I'll think Beineix was quite adventurous with his colorful style, perhaps even ahead of its time, as films have become more style over substance ever since (take for example V for vendetta, Spring Breakers, Ixjana, City of lost children, The strange color of your body's tears). Also quite modern are these out of the ordinary female characters, played wonderfully by Victoria Abril and Natassja Kinski. Depardieu's acting perhaps seems a bit shallow but he is in fact right in tone with the introverted style of the film. This was a period (begin 80's) in which he excelled in playing lead characters (Danton, Le chevre, Le dernier métro, Buffet froid). I rate this film 7/10. Despite the visual feast, I'm just too impatient to enjoy a film at such a slow pace. An one-hour cut would do magic for this film.