Wednesday 11 December 2013

Limite (1931)

While I watched this film I thought of at least twenty different ways to open this review. My poor and worse ideas are not so interesting, but the fact that this was what I was thinking of while watching this is telling. I thought of many other things as well, but rarely about what was going on in this film and the explanation is quite simple: Nothing much did.

This is a film about three people in a boat. We see them a lot in that boat. Sometimes we see them on land. There is something about sewing and something on a cemetery and they are all very depressed.

That is more or less it.

As the film was closing I decided to look for help on Wikipedia. Someone would have to explain this to me, but there was not much help to get there. I learned that this is an experimental film, that the film is about experiences, impressions of what is going on and that a lot of famous people liked this film. This was about as far as I had come before consulting Wikipedia.

It then struck me that this is not a movie where anything is supposed to be going on. Looking for a narrative here would be wrong. So when I spend 10 minutes watching some waves that is really all it was. Or maybe not. I may be supposed to be looking for some symbolic meaning. That seems likely since many of the scenes make very little sense in any literal way.

So, this is an art film. That is nice. I like art films. I actually liked “Un Chien Andalou”, “L’Age D’Or” and “Meshes of the afternoon”. Then why is it that I got absolutely zip out of “Limite”?

One explanation is that those other films are merely morsels to be enjoyed in a small dose. Even L’Age D’Or has so many things going on that it is like a number of delicate morsels. Limite on the other hand is 2 hours long! That is not a morsel, that is an overdose. Everything is stretched out so long that my attention had long gone before the scene changed. It lacked the continuity because it time and again felt as if I had fallen asleep and missed some essential part. There are entire segments that swear I saw, but I cannot tell what happened there. It was almost as if the film was repelling my attention.

Another reason is that there is no craziness, no chock effects, no wacky details that keep my attention fixed, make me wonder and at least make me laugh until I figure out what it is supposed to mean. There was nothing. Just scenery and some people. And they are all depressed. Not fun at all.

Not all is bad however. The music added to the film is beautiful and the film works very well against insomnia. You can probably get it prescribed and find it in your local pharmacy.

On an entirely different note:

The other night my wife and I went to the cinema to see “Gravity”. Now there is an impressionistic, full-submersion film with a quite depressing theme and a thin story that REALLY was able to keep my attention. Now I do not have to go to space. I feel I have already been there.


  1. I'm not a massive fan of art film in general, but I did actually enjoy Meshes of the Afternoon...or at least I thought it was cool. Boy, did I hate this one! It was completely pointless and got to the point of angering me.

    I agree on Gravity, too. A friend of mine called it a minimalist drama on a maximal stage. That's pretty good, and I wish I'd thought of it.

    1. I remember I sneakpeaked your review when you posted it, so I was biased against from the outset. I doubt that even in a most positive state of mind I would have liked this one. This may be the slowest and most obscure movie I ever saw.

  2. Uh, oh ... Your review makes me glad I have finished my 1931 viewing for now so I don't feel compelled to see it anytime soon.

    1. You would not be missing much. Not with this one.

  3. It's simple: this is a pointless film, so some recognizable names have picked it as a "favorite" film in order to appear to be cool, or knowledgable, or trend setters, and then the herd of film critics follows them. To me this is another case of The Emperor's New Clothes.

    1. I have a similar theory. I think that some critics instead of admitting defeat elevates these obscure films to a higher art. Then they seem clever and the rest of us can feel stupid for not getting it.