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A Mind-bending Film that Challenges the Viewer: What is Dream and What is Reality?

  • Sep 4, 2006
Rating:
+3
Nightmares have never been so decidedly well scripted as in LEMMING, another bizarre creation by French director Dominik Moll ('Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien', 'Intimité', 'Le Gynécologue et sa secrétaire') and writer Gilles Marchand ('Feux rouges', 'Qui a tué Bambi?', 'Bon voyage', 'Les Âmes câlines', 'Joyeux Noël'). As played by a superlative quartet of actors - Charlotte Rampling, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Laurent Lucas, and André Dussollier - the film is no easy path to follow but one that in retrospect seems to fit together like a Chinese puzzle.

The story involves the 'model couple' who invite the rogue older couple to dinner where a belated arrival heralds the singly strange behavior of the boss' wife. When the outrageously 'eccentric' wife subsequently is thwarted in a seduction of the model husband and the model husband fails to immediately communicate this embarrassing encounter to his young wife, the nightmare begins: the tale embraces suicide, alienation, adultery, philandering, murder, abandonment, a car crash - all seemingly related in a linear sense. But as it turns out, in the end of the film the events appear to be the fodder of a nightmare that could only have been induced by a simple initial guilt of lack of communication.

The 'lemming' of the title refers not only to a Scandinavian rodent that is found in the plumbing of the young couple's kitchen, but it also is part of the nightmare of the concept that lemmings 'commit suicide' in their migration from their overpopulated Scandinavia to the oceans of death beyond their home. In retrospect each piece of the bizarre story is laid very carefully in the opening of the film, at times a bit occult but the pieces are there. Rampling and Gainsbourg are their usual beautiful and gifted selves in very tough roles, and the entire cast is on target, succeeding in catching us off guard at every turn. Perhaps this is not a 'great movie', but it certainly is a fine exercise for the mind and gives further evidence that Dominik Moll is a formidable artist. Grady Harp, September 06

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About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #42
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this movie

Wiki

The story of a troubled relationship festering between two couples: young Alain Getty (Laurent Lucas), a home automation engineer, and his wife, sweet Bénédicte (Charlotte Gainsbourg); and middle-aged Ándre (Richard Pollock), Alain`s boss, who is married to the mysterious Alice (Charlotte Rampling). The encounter does not leave the young couple`s harmony unscathed. The discovery of a mysterious rodent`s corpse blocking the waste pipe of their kitchen sink does nothing to help and portends the bursting of irrationality into a hitherto orderly life.

LEMMING was a selection in the Cannes Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival, 2005.

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Details

Director: Dominik Moll
DVD Release Date: August 15, 2006
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Strand Releasing

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