By Zach Hagadone
If there isn’t one yet, there needs to be a name for the principle that, “If you can think of it, there’s a movie genre for it.” Read the reviews for Someone Somewhere, the French-language 2019 film by director Cédric Klapisch, and you’ll see the term “therapy drama” pop up more than a few times.
Taken at face value, such a description might lead viewers to believe they’re about to watch a movie about people laying on couches as they lay bare their problems. That would be accurate, to a degree, but there is a lot more going on in Klapisch’s film, which the Panida Theater will offer Friday, May 8-Thursday, May 14 as part of its Virtual Screening Room series.
Warehouse worker Rémy (François Civil) and research assistant Mélanie (Ana Girardot) do need help. One is an insomniac, the other sleeps all the time. The former has collapsed in on himself under the numbing nature of his dead-end job, while the former’s sense of numbed isolation has propelled her into a series of one-off relationships facilitated by hook-up apps.
Both are depressed and alone, yet the twist lies in the fact that they live next door to one another in the kind of middling neighborhood that single 30-somethings would be able to afford in the City of Light.
Despite their proximity and obvious similarities, they’ve never met and their daily routines operate in the way of two asteroids — tethered by a shared yet remote orbit that we presume will someday cause them to collide.
Described as a “slow-burn,” the film draws the viewer into this gravitational pull, watching as Rémy and Mélanie spin along in their tracks, all the while delivering a series of critiques about post-post-modern tech-driven alienation and the personal self-loathing it enables. They can’t connect because they won’t connect with anything, much less themselves.
While the scenes of psychoanalysis offer exposition, Klapisch’s real trick is toying with the meet-cute, romantic connection, whose timing and development defy expectations.
Though elements of Someone Somewhere can be found in dozens — maybe hundreds — of other films, this one is more than the sum of its parts.
Someone Somewhere (NR)
Streaming Friday, May 8-Thursday, May 14; viewing available anytime for 72 hours after payment; $12. Access the film at panida.org/event/someone-somewhere.
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