Director Jean-Claude Brisseau plays a retired math professor with an intense interest in philosophy and motion pictures. One day, as he is working on a book about a philosophical approach to Biblical questions, he hears a scuffling outside his apartment door, and finds a young woman being beaten by a guy who subsequently runs away. The professor, whose name is Michel Deviliers, takes the woman in and finds out that she is homeless. Her name is Dora, and Michel lets her live in his apartment, and they enter into a (non-sexual, by and large) friendship, and collaborates on Michel’s book. Dora is surprisingly intelligent, much as if she is an angel or a muse sent specifically to help the floundering professor finish his work.
After she arrives, supernatural happenings also start to occur in the apartment. Ghostly visitations and floating tables. Dreams and illusions. Evil spirits. Michel, a scientific sceptic, brushes it all off as some kind of prank. But as he and Dora grow closer, they start talking about reincarnation, and how Dora may be Michel’s dead wife reincarnated. They talk about entering into a pact where each, upon death, will visit the other in a later incarnation, until they can be together again as man and wife, gradually overcoming the huge age difference. Another subject that comes up in conversation is how religion may be a deep-seated human need for illusions; the illusion of a loving authority figure, a divine set of morals, and that the world makes emotional as well as rational sense. Perhaps the supernatural happenings are supposed to represent a post-religious form of such illusions; the more philosophical New Age ideas that accompanies post-monotheistic culture?
It is an extremely odd movie. It is well-made and well-acted in every way, and it held my attention fully, but it went in a different direction than I thought it would. It ended up “just” being philosophical, rather than wrapping any direct message into its artistic theme. I can’t say I have figured the movie out; reincarnation and supernatural phenomena aren’t really my thing. It has been called a low-budget horror movie, and it certainly has elements of that. I suppose its message is that Michel and Dora were soul mates and would be attracted to each other beyond differences in age, time and space. But, there was also a lot of discussion of Biblical themes, and it seems conspicuous that Michel’s last name is Deviliers – was he somehow a fallen angel that Dora, a real angel, came to save? I don’t know. This movie’s ideas were too vague, and at the same time too all over the place, for me to make sense of them, but that doesn’t change the fact that I found it both entertaining and thought-provoking.
Director: Jean-Claude Brisseau
Cast: Jean-Claude Brisseau, Virginie Legeay, and others
Runtime: 91 min.