Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"La Moustache" (Language - French) (2005) - Movie Review

“La Moustache” has one of the very interesting premise lately I have been intrigued. Its protagonist decides to do something drastic with his facial appearance. Not a plastic surgery or to become grotesque to prove a point. He simply removes the moustache he had for most of his adult life. This happens in the first scene of the film and then as him we are curious to see his wife’s reaction. That is where the movie causes the insecurity and the underlying problem of the lives we lead and the approval we beg.

How many times we look into a mirror in a single day? How many times we men contemplate on choosing to remove the facial hair? What will friends comment? Will I be mocked upon or is it asking for racial profiling to have a beard while traveling? Whether parents will abhor it or wife will be angry at it? So much goes upon the way we look and this is more important as the hair growth is natural. It does not involve the prosthetics of the make up or the addition of a layer.

I remember the first time I shaved the patches of spots on my face and I remember the first time I kept a goatee. I also remember how weird it was to remove it several months later to get an out of body experience of seeing yourself as someone else. But “La Moustache” derives those experience into symbolism and then into a troublesome result for the central character Marc (Vincent Lindon).

Marc and Agnes (Emmanuelle Devos) appear to be the happy couple. Agnes leaves mentioning how much she will have trouble recognizing Marc if he removes his thick stache. Marc shaves it off and then waits for the moment to reveal. Unfortunately Agnes does not even comment about it. They go to a friend’s place and they do not say a word about it either. Marc thinks it is a joke taken far enough and outbursts on their way back in the car. Agnes is confused and claims he never had a moustache forever. Marc cannot believe this. From this on begins the riddle of what is real and what is not.

Emmanuel Carrere, the director of the film takes the banal thing of a men’s regularity into something more. When Marc is put into this mode of confusion and in a worrisome state of being merged into this fixed version of himself in his wife’s memory, the real strains on the relationship crack up. Soon both of them begin to wonder on what is real and who is going crazy. Though Marc is the primary candidate for insanity according to Agnes.

“La Moustache” begins to play this game and soon enough we understand that there is no common sense coming out of this picture. It is more towards the dissection of what an identity becomes in the long run and in a long term relationship. Life becomes stale and faces become a photograph than an actual emotional machine. The film apart from making its generality statements on the existing lives of the people, is specifically about this couple. As we meet, they are the right couple and the story begins with the moustache issue. We are made to believe that they have a perfect marriage and yet a simple confusion begins to dig up the actual insecurities in them. Soon they question their relationship more than the sanity.

I was curious on the premise as mentioned earlier and then was fascinated by the emotional disappointment Marc endures on the hands of the indifferent people around him on his change of look. Then it takes a deeper turn of which the sanity and matrimonial crisis it took upon. And finally enters into the bizarre world of realism, hallucination and literal symbolism. It might lose some audience when it takes the last dip.

This film would make most men hesitate a little before keeping the razor below their nose. The idea of becoming lost in the sameness brings a sense of being acknowledged and noticed. We human beings how much ever secluded, lonely and self centered we become are always in the lookout for some approval highs. That makes us truly the social animal we have been structured as upon. “La Moustache” reminds that in its own French way.

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