‘L’Autre’ tells the story of Marie, a grief stricken woman who decides to isolate herself from the rest of the world when her father suddenly dies, only to find love in the oddest of moments.
Directed by: Charlotte Dauphin.
Starring: Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Anouk Grinberg, James Thierree, Jean-Louis Martinelli, Charlotte Dauphin, Arthur Choisnet, Marion Gaultier de Chamacée, Eugenie Dion, Clémence Gross, Christine Pignet, Charlotte Reinhardt.
Running time: 77 minutes.
The intimacy of grief.
A theme that cinema often portrays in its various forms, and which we often criticize because of its lack of realism. Apparently a dramatic movie can be bad or good depending on how realistic it is.
But how about the feeling it produces with its depiction of something so personal? There’s no formula for how someone must react during a tragedy or when facing loss. You’re just supposed to go on while the rest of the world keeps its normal pace. You are dragging an enormous load filled with memories, and while this can’t be measures, time helps to make this load seem lighter as days or years go by. When a film director understands this feeling, then I believe that “version” can be filmed. Not everybody is prepared to approach this subject with enough sensibility.
Charlotte Dauphin is the director of L’Autre, a very complex film about the inability to understand the absence of someone. Her role as director is magnificent as she makes a very personal film without giving in to a formula, and staying away from the clarity we expect as viewers. She makes the film her own vision of an necessary awakening. Even if that rebirth is radically amorphous.
Marie is a successful woman who loses her father. She’s a dancer who decides to quit after the cannot manage to go on being herself and facing such an important loss. She insists on leaving everything the way her father left it. She finds a diary written by her father, and she starts “knowing” him. The intimate side of a man she thought she knew well. Also, during this time she meets Paul, a photographer that her father had previously met. He paid for a photo session for Marie before his death, and Paul has reached out to her to do these photos. Their encounter is awkward, but it inevitably results in the two of them falling in love. However, Marie is almost hypnotized by the memory of her father, and she cannot let go. She can’t stop remembering, reliving it all through all the information revealed in the diary. She’s in her own world surrounded by the powerful impossibility of letting go.
L’Autre is an emotional journey through the mind of a woman, whose state is disturbed but impeccably clear. We understand what she deals with and her feelings of unmeasured sorrow, but it’s also harrowing how her lack of control can overpower her so easily. She does not question how her inner self can be ambiguous. She just accepts her for how she is. At the end she may come out as a powerful woman stepping out into reality, or she can be entering the dreamworld she has created.
Does it matter? Is the answer really relevant?
Those are questions that we would normally ask. But Dauphin’s agreement with the effects of pain is unquestionably particular, and this is a product we have to accept just the way it was shot. There’s nothing more human than a private momentum that somehow gets to the screen and is transmitted through a character’s definition.