Taking a cue from Memento, Novo treats a flesh-and-blood man’s short-term memory as a kind of moral invisibility cloak, but director Jean-Pierre Limosin chooses not to exploit the man’s mystery disease for existential rewards. Instead, Limosin positions the Graham (Eduardo Noriega) as the center of the universe, a ball of pure energy not unlike a spot from one of Jackson Pollock’s paintings (a scene at an art gallery is the centrifugal force of the film). This is Memento as a sexy, sometimes tawdry romantic comedy: Because Graham looks good with his clothes off, the women in his life take advantage of his inability to make new memories. Makes sense given his gorgeous looks. He says his name is Graham. His boss does an African dance to seduce him. He looks on in terror. She tells him to take off his clothes. He obliges before fucking her from behind. She makes him cum by slapping his ass. (You realize quickly they’ve been here before and that it’s only a matter of time before the scene will repeat itself.) Though Irène (Anna Mouglalis) appreciates and takes advantage of Graham for being able to “fuck without a past,” he becomes loveable and his inability to create a history begins to frustrate numerous parties. Limosin’s playful visual style is sometimes undermined by needless fast-motion, and though the narrative is prone to kooky diversions and even kookier symbolism (the film literalizes the term “vagina dentate”), Novo is evocative of what it takes to build and destroy unions. It’s got nothing on Jean-Claude Brisseau’s Secret Things, but it’ll do.
- IFC Films
- 98 min
- Jean-Pierre Limosin
- Christophe Honoré, Jean-Pierre Limosin
- Eduardo Noriega, Anna Mouglalis, Nathalie Richard, Éric Caravaca, Paz Vega, Lény Bueno, Julie Gayet, Agathe Dronne
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