Les Derniers jours du monde
Jean-Marie Larrieu, Arnaud Larrieu :: France :: 2008 :: 2h10
The world is coming to an end and does not do so quietly. Amid the chaos, we follow Robinson (Mathieu Amalric) who has just separated from his bourgeois wife Chloé (Karin Viard). While everyone is running, Robinson is searching, desperate to spend another night with the fantasy of his life, the extravagant Laetitia (played by the Dominican model Omahyra Mota). As world, morality and life crumble around him, he lungs himself forward in the unknown to be able to hold her once more.
This is a very curious film, mixing genres like they do not exist in a permanent flirt with the absurd. Even before entry. Consider the title -Last Days of the World- together with the slogan -Finally free!- and you know that you are in for a controversial ride. But where to? What are we to be freed of? The film definitely takes you places: from a chic Biarritz to a mythical Pamplona and from a refugee-filled Toulouse to the nightlife of Taipei. This is a road-movie in its true sense. You never know where they are taking you and what will happen next and with who.
In that moral emptiness provoked by the chaos of the end of the world, the characters discover an egoism they never before had the chance to reveal. This egoism leads them to be pulled along by desire rather than boxing it in for a conjugal peace. The pain and disappointment of separation are softened by the sentiment that nothing matters anymore, as suicides and deaths go by as the first passengers to board a flight. But none the less, rating sexual experience or desire as higher than self-preservation or a developed love is strange. Perhaps the idea originally sounded credible that, if the world ends you would pursue your unfulfilled desires. But would you, honestly, not rather be with the people you love? In real life, the answer would be related to how honest your life and love is. But in the film, most of the characters around Robinson seem to have chosen death or are fleeing in a desperate rush of self-preservation, but we are not encouraged to care about them.
It is Robinson who is our subject of interest. Swimming against the current, near oblivious to the crumbling world around him, he feels free from the conventions which bound him. And then we come to a sublime moment. He is walking with Laetitia, in a deserted post-apocalyptic Paris, when she takes off her clothes. Because she can. He does the same thing and they run through the empty streets happy in their back-to-nature state. And then, for just a few seconds, we see them crossing a busy boulevard with people and cars, as if nothing had changed, as if we are still in the here and now. Was that their imagination of convention shining back at them, or is the whole world-ending actually in his mind?
The film is filled with symbolic imagery to discover, dreamy eroticism and original locations. It is a mysterious road movie through the absurd which is really best watched late at night, when reasoning powers are looser and the adventure of an unpredictable world can welcome you in. A daring piece of cinema.