The Odyssey of Life
Nils Tavernier :: France :: 2005 :: 1h30
Barbara and Manu want to have a child. They allowed television director Tavernier interview them on the Côte d’Azur, where they live, at the different stages of her pregnancy. Inter sped with the interviews, we get to see an animation of the foetus as it grows into a baby. The mixture between the action on the outside, for instance when Barbara is swimming and the animation of her baby being jolted around inside her is magical.
The whole film is guided by a narrative voice explaining what contemporary science believes takes place at the origins of human life, written under the supervision of Professor René Frydman. The narrative walks the fine balance between a dry scientific view and the magic which takes place.
On the down side, as if often the problem with television, Barbara and Manu, like most people, do not really want to be filmed – and it shows. Acting and being filmed is fine, but “being yourself” is near impossible when there is a camera pointed at you, as people do not really know what their own behaviour is. Barbara coves up by having prepared what she wants to say before the crew shows up at their house. Manu, who originally did not want to be filmed but changed his mind, says close to nothing. But what can he say? He is clearly thrilled at the prospect of being able to hold his own child, but what should he say about it to a television station? His original apprehension is confirmed. Despite that inherent problem, Tavernier does his best not to intrude into the privacy of Barbara and Manu, and films respectfully.
The main attraction of the movie is the captivating narrative with the amazing development of the baby presented in animation. The movie a perfect explanatory aide to the beginnings of human life for people “trying to imagine it” and equally for educational purposes for teenagers. Attempt to see beyond the television shortcomings, and prepare yourself for a very special journey.
NB The movie is Christian ideology-friendly, but note that the couple is unmarried (they are engaged) at the time of filming.