Aug 22, 2008

L' Appartement

In the immensely frustrated state that I am currently delving in, one might tell me to relax or take a load off. Instead, I chose to go forward with writing about the most rewardingly frustrating film that I have ever seen called L' Appartement.

Now we've all encountered a film called Wicker Park. Chances are that you've stumbled upon this hipster insta-classic at your local video rental chain or even caught it in theaters. If it's not ringing a bell, it's that one "artistic" film starring heart throb Josh Hartnett. Perhaps this film could be described as one of the early mainstream indie films.

Now, for the uneducated, Wicker Park is an exercise in shot-by-shot remakes - One of the early ones too. The original film is a little ditty called L' Appartement. In case you've been in a sheltered American life, this obviously is translated into The Apartment. Which in case is our main setting and where most of the drama unfolds. The story concerns Max, a playboy who is engaged to someone who doesn't matter. He recalls an old flame named Lisa who he encounters after her strange disappearance. From this event, Max spirals into a deadly web of obsession.

L' Appartement is a drama of the fiercest kind. When making a genre addition to the drama section, it's inevitable to include some form of love, whether post-humous or a love of an inanimate kind. Gilles Mimouni has infused a style that breathes life into the instinct to pick a perfect mate rather than one that you might lust over. He stares the myth of love dead in the face and challenges any preconceived notion you'd have on the subject.

Vincent Cassel happens to be one of my only cinematic vices. If he releases a film, I immediately must view it multiple times and process every movement he makes on film. After seeing this film, I feel obliged to leave this film alone and never watch it again. Before this comes off as some bad review, I must say that this film had a very advanced cinema disease attached to it that I will call Motion Picture Frustration.

For example, I am a hip-hop and rap fan, particularly old school N.W.A. and Sugar Hill Gang. When I had first seen (unbearably) Are We There Yet?, I almost ripped my teeth out watching one of the original gangsters being exploited by a couple of little annoying niglets. Watching L' Appartement for the first and only time could be the equivalent to having my teeth and brain ground down to a liquid powder and snorted by an obese geek.

If you've seen Wicker Park and not the original like so many others have, You will be surprised by the almost nihilistic outcome of this film. I could list reasons as to why this film hugely differs other than the annoying Matt Lilliard as a sidekick, but truth be told, I want you to be horrifically surprised like I was. L' Appartement is a godsend in romance films. It is a film that will make you challenge any tall-tale of happily ever after.

I blame a friend, Derek, for making me watch this film. L' Appartement is the film to end all films. It will make you laugh with coyish delight as Cassel awkwardly stumbles across every visually striking set with enough on screen fervor to light a match. Together with future wife Monica Belluci, they single-handedly create the most mindfuck of a film ever invented next to Sion Sono's Strange Circus. Both of these films were viewed at horrible times, which only strengthens the mood. Fuck, I need a real vacation.


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