August 32nd on Earth

Un 32 août sur terre

Denis VilleneuveCanada88 minutes1998PGColourFrench

View August 32nd on Earth during the August 32nd on Earth preceded by REW FFWD event.

The spirit of the nouvelle vague hovers over Villeneuve's thrifty but diverting debut, which nods affectionately to Truffaut and (especially) Godard as well as the counterculture road movies of the 1960s. Model Simone (Pascale Bussieres, sporting a Jean Seberg pageboy cut) is nearly killed in a car accident, which leads her to re-evaluate her priorities. Deciding that she wants to have a baby, she calls in a favour from her best friend Philippe (Alexis Martin) and the couple decamps from Montreal to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats outside Utah (a desert whose vast, photogenic emptiness recalls Zabriskie Point) for purposes of procreation — but the location proves less romantic than expected. While the ambitious mix of comedy and existentialism anticipates the more fully realized experiment of Maelström, August 32nd's lightness of spirit makes the film a fascinating anomaly in Villeneuve's characteristically moody oeuvre.