Judith, separated from her husband and working as a translator for UNESCO, is given a job of studying a writer who died in an accident. Seemingly routine, she finds he was on the trail of a network smuggling Nazis to Europe from Latin America.
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Spectacular and very literate direction by De Gregorio, it reminded me of late Kubrick at times, if he were working on a modest budget of course. I found it a very stimulating viewing for its eclectic narration, it's adroit mixture of past and present, and Jacques Rivette (!!) in his only supporting role, which of course plays to perfection alongside the lovely and always awesome Hermine Karagheuz.
The confused and often convenient scripting sink this second directorial effort from De Gregorio. An early starring vehicle for Nathalie Baye does her no favours and the performance by Philippe Leotard is just awful. Saving graces are a good score by Michel Portal that often drowns out the performers (perhaps should have done so more often) and the cinematography of William Lubchansky.
A film saved by the legendary people involved - from the director to the cast. It is their magic, that unique spark between the characters and even their presence alone what elevates this film, unfortunately, to a level just above mediocrity... It is way too slow and plain boring for a thriller. The over-convoluted plot and confusing storytelling do not help at all. I'd only recommend it for its historical value.
It looks like we´ve seen this before, or does it? If you pay attention to details, the editing in particular, which jumps into the past, jump cuts from the story she reads into present again, if you appreciate the cinematography from Lubtchansky and the rich cast with Rivette (!) in a major role, you will fall for this mysterious thriller. Captivating first half. Baye and Leotard, partners at the time, are perfect.
Surrealism in the service of a sharp critique of Nazi rehabilitation tied to global network of arms deals and terrorism. Subsuming the doses of surrealism under a more conventional 'spy thriller' narrative delivers many rewards and allows entry into the dark intersections between characters, the doubling of which happens without conceding plausibility. Bayle is excellent in this innovative turn of the genre.
De Gregorio was responsible for helping co-engineer a couple stunning Jacques Rivette masterpieces wherein the domain of the conspiratorial is elevated practically to a metaphysics. Jacques even dutifully shows up in this, de Gregario's stab at directing one of his own. (How have I previously failed to note how much Rivette resembles Antonin Artaud?) SLOW MEMORY, though fascinating, is more turgid than any Rivette.
Une vraie curiosité, rien que par la présence de Jacques Rivette au casting... mais aussi grâce à une construction parfois déroutante, jonglant entre l'enquête "au présent" et divers flashbacks. Nathalie Baye et Philippe Léotard (alors en couple dans la vraie vie) sont assez convaincants dans cet imbroglio. Mais pour un thriller, le rythme et les scènes d'action laissent à désirer... à cause d'un budget trop réduit ?
I hope this double feature of Eduardo De Gregorio means these movies are getting a US DVD release, because it's about fucking time. He should rank among the greatest greats. His and Rivette's joining forces after the latter's completion of Out 1 was a divine intervention in the history of cinema, an affinity made in heaven. (And thank you Nathalie Baye, for being Nathalie Baye.)