Déroutant ! If there was only one word to describe An american story, it would be this one. Eyes glued to the large screen, the viewer feels helpless. This film has this power to involve the viewer in the narrative as a character witness. And since we cannot change the course of history, we soon become prisoners of a farce tragedy, where the main character made the wrong choice. Where you would like to be able to drag him a few words to the ear.
Philip Roth once said : “love, the only obsession everyone wants. “The american writer had seen just. An american story is a chronicle of the life dismal of a frenchman in New-York. Vincent is played by Vincent Macaigne, has left everything to her, Barbara. He followed it up to New York and since then, she no longer wants him. Obsessed by the idea of reclaiming the woman he loves, Vincent will never repudiate. Never ! Second feature-film d’Armel Hostiou after Banks, presented in 2011 at the Cannes film Festival in the selection of Acid, An american story has nothing of the american dream. Nothing of the beautiful and busy new york life. We think rather happy to the nightmare, the one that puts him in a state of distress, the one who speaks of despair. We do not know anything about Vincent. The story unfolds on the screen tells the post-rupture. It is unclear, therefore, why and how, and who is really Vincent. Therefore, the mystery settles to no longer disappear, and the marginal is left to drift.
Like a bird, the camera flies over New York city, its bridges, grandiose, its buildings majestic, to ask for a good time. The cityscape is discovered through long tracking shots, up, down. The objective follows the curves of the architecture, and as if we were in a attraction, the life of the plans provides a soft fear, a discomfort delicious.
Armel Hostiou organized our first encounter with Vincent in the subway. And already, there is the sadness and the ambient, as if, around him was built an aura of desolation. When a seller asks him why he wants at any price to retrieve it, he replies, ” but she is very beautiful “. Is it really love ? Does he know this feeling nebulous ? Throughout the movie, Vincent does not find that this reason to hang on to his love, holding up to any end of the field the portrait of his beautiful. When it comes to the meeting with Barbara, it is her back in primer that we see in the first. It appears as an enigma. This is not a good sign.
“The Second feature film by Armel Hostiou after Banks, presented in 2011 at the Cannes film Festival in the selection of Acid, An american story has nothing of the american dream. Nothing of the beautiful and busy new york life. “
It is the approach, tries to do the conversion, but they have nothing to say to each other, as if they did not know each other. Vincent turns him around, like a flirty unpleasant, distressing and wrong. If it does all work, it is awkward. She pushes away nicely. Too nicely, without a doubt. The nightlife experience runs short in the face of the Hudson River, and the city lights replace the ardour falling of the sun. Vincent succeeds in its purpose, at least for a few hours in his bed. Barbara took pity on him, as we, when we look at his face bleak. His sympathy cache to highlight some of the guilt of having brought him this far. Side staging, the uncertainty, the disorder is accentuated by games of blur supported, with contrasting colours of deep and light-timed.
Then he wanders into a bar Polish, he meets Sofie, a new yorker who has it all to please him. She is fun, understanding and even find it attractive. Settles between them a complicity : they are having fun, talking, walking around. But Vincent does not see in it as a hobby. One wonders even for a few moments if it will happen something between them, before being won by the disappointment. The protagonist’s mind is too occupied by the chimeric Barbara and miss a true story, the true one. (And here, we really want to shake it.) She finished off by the needle and rejects it by saying ” you’re a pot of glue ! “. Ironic, when one knows its toughness. Vincent is miserable, no style (he wears under his shirt, two tee-shirts) and boring, so much that it becomes funny. This funny hero is constantly on the margin of things. It never ceases to harass Barbara, putting themselves in situations that are improbable. It dares to ask him his hand at her new companion, after having asked for a freshly squeezed orange juice for example.
“A Frenchman in New York “. The city that never sleeps is an actress in the film, from the background of the characters. Everyone is nice, everyone is courteous. No doubt it would have been necessary to strengthen slightly the character of each, give them more enthusiasm. In this singular city, where the people of the world meet, the relationship with the other is more codified. Vincent transgresses well beyond these rules.
This is something that wields skillfully An american story : the mockery lightly. And happily ! Otherwise, we’d all be in depression. The film manages to do sketch from time to time a few smiles unscheduled. Obsession alternates between comedy and tragedy with the turntables, a soundtrack of pop-rock, melancholy and harmonious. Vincent suffers from a “crazy in love” and Vincent Macaigne gives his character a dimension burlesque, creating a poetic relation with the company. Finally, is there a pleasure in suffering ? Can be.
“New York seems to me sometimes as a kind of Babylon that is capable of devouring its own inhabitants. “ says the filmmaker Armel Hostiou about the Big Apple, and this is exactly what happens to Vincent. How far all this will he the lead ? Mystery…
By Anna OUTY
In theatres February 11, 2015