Director: Olivier Assayas
Year Released: 2002
It took a lot of thinking to come up with a grade for this, because I'm not sure if I really like so much as I admire it and feel as if it's too ahead of its time to be appreciated now. Assayas strikes me as being the kind of Ph.D. candidate in philosophy that they skewer in The Onion - one headline read something like "Grad student fears for mental health after deconstructing Chinese menu" - but his film is just so gutsy and fragmented and free-form, it's like Godard (circa Pierrot le fou) teaming up with Chris Marker and David Fincher to make a film of a William Gibson short story that parodies The Matrix. The 'narrative' is (intentionally) diced up into pieces for the last act, as the heroine (Connie Nielson) wanders further into her own violent dream-game (eventually morphing into Emma Peel) which can only be viewed from the 'outside' (i.e. the teenager who downloads images of her off the Internet); it shudders at the very thought of the future of sex with corporations controlling pleasure and feeding the masses deviant material ('supply and demand'). Uses the same sources as the Wachowskis - namely, Baudrillard and McLuhan - but if you ask me, Assayas' vision of digital schizophrenia is the true nightmare world.