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Category:    Home > Reviews > Seaside (aka Pebbles)

Seaside (aka Pebbles, aka Bord de Mer)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C†††† Film: B-

 

 

Some films are just successes when they capture something you do not see often, and Julie Lopes-Curvalís Seaside (2002) is such a film.The story is about a group of people who live near the ocean in what is now a declining destination for tourists.It is a nice place to live in, as well as visit, but they are slowly less and less happy.Bulle Ogier is the passive matriarch, if that, of the French mainstay loosing its luster.

 

Lopes-Curval wrote the co-screenplay and you see the way such ocean locations (French, American, or otherwise) in how the people interact from the influence of the natural area around them.However, these people are at a point where they have begun to stop caring and be unhappy for the most part, always defined by their destructive vices (smoking, drinking) and just the general sense of lives that were not quite as fulfilled as they should have been.That they cannot seem to or want to make any kind of comeback is defined by the alternate title of the film, that they have let their souls become plastered into the land as much as the pebbles that are mined for sale as an exotic item.They no longer feel good, special, privileged, or even know what to do with themselves.Seaside is an interesting portrait of people at the end of their sunny day.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a bit soft and may be sourced from a PAL master.With that said, cinematographer Stephan Massis does a fine job of capturing the locations and the people seamlessly and is a major component that makes this film as good as it is.It is not the strongest narrative film, but the combination of this camerawork and Lopes-Curvalís intents make sense in a way that it made sense it won the Best New Film (Camera díOr) Award at Cannes.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is a Dolby theatrical release, but this mix has no real surrounds of any kind, which is odd.This likely reflects its low budget origins.The few extras include brief text production notes, a stills gallery, bios of Lopes-Curval and Ogier, and trailers for other First Run titles.Seaside is a smart mood piece that deserves a look.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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