Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Process
France (UK/Fr) 2004 : C S LEIGH : 93 mins (alternative sources give running time as 108 mins)
PROCESS has all the trappings of a classic, pretentious French arthouse movie: grand themes of despair, identity and ennui are explored via the story of an unnamed actress (Beatrice Dalle) who suffers a severe existential crisis after breaking up with her lover (Guillaume Depardieu). Rough sex, gloomy introspection, minimal dialogue, highfalutin’ cultural references: all are present in abundance. But perhaps because Leigh isn’t himself French, he’s able to find a new angle on what seemed like one of the most redundant of art-movie genres. There are sufficient flashes of self-awareness and wit to suggest he knows exactly what he’s doing, and that whatever that is is going to be worth following through to the conclusion. And the very last moment turns out to be an absolute belter, casting everything that’s gone before in an even more revealing ironic light. Of the 40 films I saw at the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival, PROCESS is the one I’m keenest to see again. Indeed, as soon as it finished I could quite happily have endured the ordeal all over again.
by Neil Young