Écoute le temps (2006)

ecouteletempsFinally an interesting movie this week (I’ve had crap luck lately in choosing them). I was surprised I liked this, especially for being an arty French debut (not that I would necessarily not like something described that way). The main character (seen left), Charlotte,  is a sound engineer for film documentaries who returns to her home town for a spoiler-ish reason. Let’s just say it involves a death. Hanging around in the home of the deceased, she comes to realize that she can hear events from the past taking place in the house with the aid of her recording equipment. She then proceeds to attempt to solve the mystery around the sudden death. Later, and I think this might not be “in” the film, she discovers another reason for why she can hear what’s no longer there.
I wouldn’t say the film is superb or anything (it, for instance, has major pacing problems toward the end). However, I was pleasantly engaged the whole 83 minutes, no doubt in large part due to the performance by Emilie Dequenne, who some people might barely recognize from the Dardenne’s Rosetta (her first performance; another engaging one in an excellent film).
Obviously, the sound track to the film is supposed to be important here, and there is some interesting ambient-ness to it in parts. It’s also notable that the main character seems to increasingly reject speaking as a form of communication (There are very few extended scenes of dialogue in the film). The film definitely leaves you to figure out what you want out of it. It’s not a haunted house movie or a straight mystery plot thriller, that’s for sure.

ecoute2ecoute3 If I were to pull the WIYL (watch-if-you-like) card, I would definitely name-check The Conversation. I was also thinking (for some reason) maybe tonal parts of The Sweet Hereafter or the roving rural interviewness of The Pledge, but the internets also suggest Polanski’s Repulsion (which makes total sense now that it’s been suggested). There’s another too, but to write the title out would be a major spoiler.
The english title of the film is Fissures, which seems enough of a decent translation, but I’m sure the phrase is intended to be a little vague: listen to time, sound the time, who knows.


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