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While riding the Metro to work, store clerk Irene (Audrey Tautou) learns from a fellow passenger that her horoscope predicts she'll "meet the love of her life" that day. After she gets off the train, the young man who had been sitting across from her (Faudel) reveals he shares the same birthday, and perhaps fate. Though separated once she steps onto the platform, unrelated characters and events seemingly conspire to bring the two together again. As these characters interact with one another randomly, every chance encounter bears a consequence that will later become significant, ultimately culminating in a complex pattern of narrowly averted mishaps and barely grasped opportunities ....

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
You've heard of high concept movies, this is a minimalist concept: the smallest gesture "reveals an infinity of truths and thus has endless repercussions and momentous consequences... You only have to piss in the sea to make the oceans rise..." From this snatch of dialogue comes the concept of Happenstance, but the film's conceit is delivered with a laborious earnestness that takes the skip out of its promised hop step and jump at the start.

It's a valid idea, but the execution is weak; the ideas in the script are trapped in a void of imagination that drags the film down and the performances never get a chance to materialise character. Nor is there enough genuine humour in the film to grab our attention, and the look of the film is unremarkable.

Optimistic it may be, and the exploration of chance is always a matter of curiosity in human affairs, but the subject matter and the ideas are weighed down by a screenplay and direction that doesn't lift it off the ground. If you're drawn to this because of Audrey Tautou of Amelie fame, you may be a trifle disappointed. It isn't a film in the same leaugue.

July 7, 2005

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(France, 2000)

Le battement d'aile du papillon

CAST: Audrey Tatou, Faudel, Irene Ismailoff, Eric Feldman, Franck Bussi, Frederic Bouraly, Lusiane Meis

PRODUCER: Ann-Dominique Toussant

DIRECTOR: Laurent Firode

MUSIC: Peter Cahse, Nabil Khalidi

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Music clip of Le signe du Destin (The Sign of Destiny) performed by Faudel; Les Menteurs (The Liars) 1999 short film by director Laurent Firode


DVD RELEASE: June 2005

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