30 June 2002 | anagram14
Where cats pop up
This is an absurd film, and in my book, that's a big compliment. It gives us a glimpse into the colourful world of Elsie and Joey Wellman. She's an ingénue from Ohio who emigrates to Paris to pursue Culture, which she found sadly lacking in the home of Joey, her exuberant cartoonist father. In "On connaît la chanson", it was songs Resnais used to show what was going on in his characters' minds; here, how could it be anything but cartoons? Though they haven't talked in two years, Joey's cartoon cat keeps intruding into Elsie's thoughts in a black-and-white bubble, usually scolding her. And a cutely vitriolic little cat it is! When Joey decides to visit Elsie on pretext of a cartoon exhibit, a major crisis threatens...
Resnais, who has worked with the likes of Enki Bilal (in "La vie est un roman"), obviously loves cartoons and cartoonists, yet also sympathizes with pretty over-intellectual young women like Elsie (a predecessor of Camille in "On connaît la chanson"). Many of his later movies use inspiredly silly elements to treat serious problems. Watching this one, I wondered about his influence on people like Hal Hartley. Strongly recommended to film-lovers, but probably not to the average movie-goer.