Glass avenues of Paris 2054

I finally got a chance to see Christian Volckman's Renaissance last week, even after having posted about the film several months ago.

The movie's not bad, though the writing leaves a lot to be desired, the "acting" is rather dubious, and realistic character motivation seems somewhat lacking, to say the least.
On the other hand, the movie is gorgeous, and its architectural vision of Paris in the year 2054 deserves comment. The city's streets have been replaced with bulletproof glass, for instance, so action on the underground Metro platforms can be seen from above – and vice versa. Weird little houses rise and fall on hydraulic platforms; a geneticist's home, on the mansard-roofed top floor of a riverside flat, contains a whole indoor forest; the city itself has become a massively cross-buttressed machine of arches, superhighways, and elevated trains. There are tunnels, archives, and holographic surveillance screens – and lots of iron, glass, and brick. The Seine has been concretized into a kind of industrial mega-canal. At one point, the mosque at Cordoba appears, faithfully reproduced as a gangster's steambath. Etc. etc.
As it happened, there was a short article by Volckman in a magazine I picked up after the movie; there we read how Renaissance was intended as "an expressionistic film, transforming Paris into a futuristic metropolis, using motion capture and creating everything from scratch in 3D." Volckman cites film noir as both a structural and aesthetic influence: "Great shadows, wild angles, and weird characters living in dark cities where the line between good and evil is not so obvious."
So it's a great film to catch, on a purely visual level – though beware of the screenplay, which nearly does the whole thing in.

(PS: Renaissance is dubbed, not subtitled, and includes the voice of Daniel Craig).

[Originally spotted on gravestmor].

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't forget the Sant‘Elia housing blocks we see in the opening scenes. agreed concerning the writing, though... i think they should have gone for more narritive abstraction (think "Futurist Manefesto") instead of an expressionistic PDK.

October 10, 2006 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is hardly a faithful reproduction of the Mosque at Cordoba! More like a Geromian take on it.

October 10, 2006 4:50 AM  

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