|OFFICIAL SELECTION / FRENCH COMPETITION||FIDMARSEILLE 2010|
Georges de Beauregard National Prize
In August 2006, in Sotchi, a seaside resort in Russia, a storm killed about fifty people. Among them was a beautiful young woman, Irina. Her former lover, Guillaume, who had gone to enquire about her death, disappeared without a trace, leaving behind a few clues, his drawings and his diary in room 255 at the Primorskaïa hotel. On their tracks, the narrator-filmmaker arrives on the scene. The story slowly unfolds, shaped and tossed about by the director’s encounters along the way. Its rhythm is reminiscent of travel chronicles, or of the languidness of some films noirs, in which you never know whether the pace is really set by the plot. Is it the story of a friendship or a love story? The portrait of a woman, and then of another? An inquiry about a State secret? A fragmented description of modern Russia? It is all that at once, mixed with what appears to be essentially sensitive, sensual and cinematographic material. Jean-Claude Taki had already shot several short films with his cell phone; this time, using the same modest device, he ventured on a much longer-term project. That worked out for the best, as the uncertain quality of the image finally became its ally. Its eeriness and thickness echo most acutely the melancholy of the traveller, only present via the voice over, thus out of frame, forever away.