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2016年11月24日 星期四

The Together Project (L'Effet aquatique) (求愛水計劃)

The Together Project (L'Effet aquatique)  is my first film in the just started French Film Festival 2016 HK. Directed and co-written by Sólveig Anspach and Jean-Luc Gaget and starring Samir Guesmi  (as Samir) and Florence Loiret  Caille ( as Agathe), Didda Jónsdóttir ( as Anna) and Philippe Rebbot ( as  Reboute), it's a very French swimming pool romance set in motion first by pure chance and then continued through some heavily engineered calculation attributable to those huge jokes beloved by men and women perpetrated by Nature on terrestrials through a combination testoterones, estrogens and dopamine.

As the film opens, we see a forty-year old crane operator Samir sitting high in the air on the steel frame of a construction site. The next scene brings us to a bar where he was standing, witnessing a very angry young lady Agathe telling a guy trying to get her to bed at the bar table by pretending to be talking about something about his life and being told off in some pretty direct language. That piques his interest. He follows her and finds that she works in the local swimming pool.

Next we see Samir taking fumbling steps to join the same local swimming pool  as a seasonal member and finds out her schedule and tries to enrol in her swimming class but unfortunately due to bureaucratic regulations, is  assigned to another lady instructor. He takes the first lesson with the other lady instructor who constantly remarks on his beautiful physique but all the time, his eyes are roaming towards Agathe with a small boy called Benjamin, someone he claims to be when he first joins her at the pool and is told off with a look of contempt when the real Benjamin appears. Then when nobody was looking, he switched his name with that of another debutant so that his name became chalked  under the instructor's column with Agathe's name on top of the blackboard outside the locker counter showing the swimming coach schedules..

We then see how he was accidentally locked inside one of the changing cabinets with a faulty lock just before closing time and was stuck inside the swimming facility and then after he climbed out in the space between the top of the changing room and the ceiling he met, quite by accident, Agathe who had decided on the spur of the moment to stay behind because, as she later told Samir, she loves to stay inside the empty swimming pool hall because she enjoys the quietness and the reflections of light on the water there and she can reflect in private on her life. Quite naturally, they were surprised to find each other at that most unusual hour and started talking. Then one of the locker attendants brought in two young girls whom he was trying to date. One of them fell off into the pool by accident and appeared to be drowning. Without a thought, Samir jumped immediately into the pool from the diving platform where he was then making it with Agathe,  to rescue the drowning girl. Agathe was both surprised and pissed off to learn that in fact Samir could swim like a lifeguard and that all the while he was just pretending to be learner-swimmer and never spoke to him again.She simply can't stand lies.

When Samir learned that Agathe was substituting another representative in the 10th international Conference of Swimming Coaches in Iceland, he immediately took a plane there and slipped in under false pretences. He got lucky again because there was a bug in the security system at the entrance to the conference hall. When it was time to speak, nominally as the "official representative" of Israel, because that was the only empty seat he found when he entered the lecture theatre, he made up on the spot an entirely fictitious "together project" of building a swimming pool by Israelis in Palestine and got a thunderous reception and incidentally got too the attention of the Palestinian lady delegate who thereafter did everything she could to get him into bed.

They were invited to stay at the house of the very hospitable and enthusiastic Anna, the local host and a municipal official when due to another accident when Samir was trying to make some morning coffee in front of a desultory Agathe, after the hostess left, he got an electric shock so severe that he had to be rushed to the local hospital and he lost all his memory. Out of sheer humanity, Agathe had reluctantly to make sure that he was OK and eventually found out that she was actually quite attracted to him, not however before she had been given an Icelandic coffee cup style fortune telling by an old Icelandic lady who divined that she was fighting inside of her heart against something very important in her life (which we learn from another scene that it probably has something to do with the fact that she got small breasts which she was afraid to display before other people, including the Icelandic ladies in the ladies bathroom, plump females who all got huge boobs and perhaps generally that she was ashamed to expose her body to the gaze of others), an advice which brought her to tears. At the session, Redoute, Anna's driver, who would change the boss-employee relations with her legal boss, Anna, on alternate days, remarked how romantic and how French it was that Samir should go to such troubles just to seek her attention and her attention and that it was obvious he was not just looking for sex but love  The film ends with the two kissing just when the lady Palestinian delegate was seducing Samir in a hot-spring swimming pool and Agathe's kiss suddenly and magically brought back to Samir all of his memories.

It's a very entertaining modern day fairy tale of love made credible by the excellent acting of the two protagonists, a story of a man who fell from the sky into a pool, the pool of a mad pursuit of love which finally touched the heart of its desired object. .