Sunday, March 27, 2016
'Nights With Theodore' DVD: Midnight in the Parisian Garden of Good and Evil
These belated thoughts on the March 1, 2016 Film Movement DVD release of the mystical and magical French drama "Nights With Theodore" round out coverage of the trilogy of releases by that uber-awesome New York based purveyor of international films on that date. These films further partially demonstrate the immense genre and geographic ranges of the Movement catalog. The previously reviewed Australian comedy "Sucker" is a hilarious film that can be considered Harold and Kumar's Oceans 11. The also reviewed "Finding Gaston" is a Peruvian documentary on arguably the nicest and most socially conscious celebrity chef in the world.
"Theodore" is a wonderful modern take on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in that it throws genuine and possibly faux documentary elements into this tale of a young couple in love who fall under the asserted spell of the actual Buttes-Chaumont Park in Paris.
The film starts out in pure documentary style regarding the fascinating history of the park, including the (possibly false) lore regarding this urban oasis. The story of the park then gives way to the story of the titular proof-reader and his new girlfriend, Anna. The love at first sight at a party leads to impulsively hoping the fence at the park. This leads to spending the night there.
The initial night in the park leads to our young lovers being drawn there every night to the extent that impairs their ability to function during their daytime hours in the literal and figurative real world. These nocturnal adventures further prompt exploring that results in discovering what seems to be the central power source for the mystical energy of the park.
Fleeting glimpses of a fellow night-time occupant and footage of a group that seems to share the obsession with the park both show Anna and Theodore that they are not alone and contribute to the sense of the mythical vibe of this urban green space.
Having either a psychiatrist or someone who is not one but plays one in this film relay the story of a patient whose story seems to parallel that of Theodore is an awesome technique for either documenting the elements of reality in our story or further demonstrating the "The Blair Witch Project" aspect of the film. This ambiguity alone makes "Theodore" Movement worthy.
The ending both satisfies and pays uber-awesome homage to both the lore of the park and the quasi-classic film "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." One difference is that, unlike everyone's favorite archaeologist, Theodore has little choice regarding whether he goes solo (of course, pun intended) and whether Anna can wake him up before she go goes. This largely comes down to the extent to which the curious power of love is stronger than the power of the gods.
Another amazing element of "Theodore" is that it achieves all of the above (and more) in 67 minutes. Filmmaker Sebastien Betheder putting the audience under his spell strongly enough to evoke a strong desire to fly to Paris and spend the night in the park in the same amount of time that baking a pie requires shows the identity of the true wizard here.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Theodore" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.