State of Things

Filmmaker Jean-Francois Richet's use of techniques associated with both documentary and fiction characterizes this 1994 movie set in the suburbs of Paris. An almost charismatic angry young man is shown interacting with friends, family, coworkers, police, and someone who's apparently making a movie, though maybe not this one. Scenes occasionally give way to quoted text, whose political content serves mainly to rationalize the main character's outrage. In one of them, edited to appear as if its action were continuous, Pierre Cephas (Stephane Ferrara) and his family are seated around a dinner table with no empty place for the camera, an arrangement that creates a sense of documentation—some angles include the backs of people's heads—that's only slightly disturbed by cuts between different shots. But this scene—like most of the movie—is just as boring to watch as the real events would be.

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