After the Life (France/Belgium; 124 min.)


directed by: Lucas Belvaux
starring: Dominique Blanc; Gilbert Melki; Ornella Muti
Après la vie
 

Barbara says: "After much discussion Mary and I both agreed that this was the best made film of the trilogy but we enjoyed AN AMAZING COUPLE the most. After seeing AN AMAZING COUPLE I didn’t think I could ever like the character of Pascal but that Changed with AFTER THE LIFE. The scene where he is lying next to Agnes while she is a drug induced sleep and he keeps trying to wrap her arms around him and guides her hand to stroke his face was heartbreakingly sad. This film did not change my feeling toward Agnes. It only deepened my dislike for her despite the drug scenario.

I find it amazing the way the three films came together. Of the three you could Probably view AN AMAZING COUPLE and enjoy it without seeing the other two but I would highly recommend all three.

 
Diane says: "Remind me not to use drugs.

"This film could have used some sex scenes; maybe AN AMAZING COUPLE would have benefited, too. Or maybe I just feel that Agnes and Pascal need to do more than peck each other on the face. I loved SID AND NANCY, but the rel'ship of Pascal and Agnes seemed sick to me. Are there any marriage counselors among Chlotrudis members? Maybe you can help them.

"Dominique Blanc does a great job with the withdrawal scenes. I agree with Mary about strong camera work in their scenes at home.

"I think Belvaux used _too_ much of the other films in the trilogy in this one--I felt lost when some people popped in and out of the movie (since I didn't see ON THE RUN). And at one point had to think: now why was Cecile mad at Agnes at this point? Too much for my little brain...."

"I relished seeing again the scene where smug detective Pascal tells Cecile
that her husband is having an affair--with their daughter! I'll give this one 3 cats.

 

Mary says: "I was quite blown away by this film and I wasn't prepared for it, even after all the rave reviews the trilogy had gotten from Chlotrudis members. I couldn't imagine that my opinions of Pascal and Agnes would really change, but their story was so strong. The camera work showing familiar scenes from their point of view was incredible, especially those with LeRoux and Agnes in her home.

" I enjoyed AN AMAZING COUPLE so much also. And after having seen all three movies, I can't believe that such a funny movie could succesfully be a part of this trilogy.
Yes, I would like to see them again!! All together - 5 cats"

 

Michael says: "Here's a cinematic event that all Chlotrudis members should definitely try to see. Opening next Friday at the Brattle, French director Lucas Belvaux' trillogy of films, ON THE RUN, AN AMAZING COUPLE, and AFTER THE LIFE. In a unique and extremely succesful creation, Balvaux spins three separate films, each in its own genre, about the same characters during the same span of time. While each film is wonderfully realized on its own, so much more is attained by viewing all three. This is going to be a tricky one come nomination time!

"In a remarkably effective use of the melodrama 'genre,' Belvaux focuses on Pascal and Agnès in AFTER THE LIFE. This somber piece focuses on the relationship between these two characters and the drug addiction that is at its core. After coming across as nasty and annoying respectively in the first two films, Pascal and Agnès attain remarkable depth and understanding as their full tale comes to the fore. This film seems the most tied to the other two as Pascal investigates Alain's odd behavior for Cécile while hunting down Bruno. I also felt that these two characters got the deepest treatment as far as truly getting under their skins and seeing how complex they and their relationship truly were.

"Gilbert Melki as Pascal and especially Dominique Blanc as Agnès turn in powerful performances allowing these characters to remain thoroughly sympathetic and yet completely flawed and complex. The powerful closing scene of the film is elegant in its two completely different interpretations be the people who watched the film.

"Belvaux sets the melodramatic tone from the opening scenes... close-ups of Pascal's angst-ridden face as he wanders the streets of the city, coping with a difficult and tangled professional and personal life. As scenes from both of the previous films are played out from different points-of-view, the somber tone colors them making, in my opinion, the most complete film." 5 cats

 
Bruce says: "Decidedly the third film in the Lucas Belvaux Trilogy, AFTER THE LIFE is in a different category than the other two. This film is a melodrama and a suspenseful one at that. The two main characters in AFTER THE LIFE are Pascal and Agnès, and we learn additional secrets of their marriage, secrets which began to emerge in ON THE RUN.

"Of all the characters in the trilogy, Pascal and Agnès end up as the ones the audience can connect with the most. Cécile and Alain have real problems but laughing at their misunderstandings puts us at emotional arms length. Pascal is almost detestable in the earlier films and it is nothing short of a miracle that Belvaux places him in a light where we can see him differently. Agnès’ character does not seem all that different but we see her take actions not predictable from seeing the earlier films. It’s an emotionally taut film, and I think it is the “what I do for love” aspect of AFTER THE LIFE that is so relatable. If that thought worries you, rest assured Belvaux in no way gives in to sentimentality.

"Claire (Catherine Frot) and Georges (Bernard Mazzinghi) have serious encounters with the out-of-control Pascal as he frantically attempts closure on establishing Alain’s infidelity. Meanwhile his wife is discovering that Bruno and Pascal are more alike than she would ever have dreamed. These films are hard to review without giving away too much. To avoid spoilers, I have omitted some important points I would like to have made. As a result I’ll stick to looking at the big picture. 4 cats

"It is fun to compare Belvaux’s opus with some other famous trilogies. Belvaux’s Trilogy is slightly different than Satyajit Ray’s APU TRILOGY: PATHER PANCHALI, APARAJITU, and THE WORLD OF APU or Krzysztof Kieslowski’s TROI COULEURS: BLEU, BLANC, and ROUGE. Apu – the child, the young boy and the young man - is the common thread of Ray’s trilogy. Each film can be seen separately; each has its own story. It does seem pointless, however, to see these films, which have a chronological order, in a non-chronological sequence.

"In each of Kieslowski’s films the characters differ, but there is a thread tying them together at the end of RED. Were you not to see RED last, the connecting moment would be lost. Belvaux’s work more closely resembles the INFERNAL AFFAIRS trilogy in the way that many of the characters in each film are the same. INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2 is a prequel to INFERNAL AFFAIRS and INFERNAL AFFAIRS 3 is comprised of missing pieces so that the puzzle presented in the first two films can be completed. Like Belvaux, it is possible to see INFERNAL AFFAIRS and INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2 in any order but it is absolutely necessary to see INFERNAL AFFAIRS 3 last.

"My rating for each film in Belvaux's Trilogy is 4 cats. When put together, the films take on a special meaning and indeed the experience is unique and wonderful. Ensemble, 4.5-5 chats"