Chrysalis (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Chrysalis</strong> (2007)

(On DVD, August 2010) Few people in North America have seen this French Science Fiction film: I don’t think ChrysalisChrysalis ends up being in another storyline featuring a mother and her convalescent daughter.  It’s less straightforward than the usual near-future action thriller, and quite a bit more stylish as well: Writer/director Julien Leclercq never hesitates to show us conventional scenes in unconventional ways, starting with the cold black-and-blue cinematography.  His choices are often effective, especially during two spectacular action sequences: The opening shoot-out opens up with a bang, whereas a later foot-chase sequence starts with a generously long one-shot that is more impressive than fifteen frantic cross-cut.  Film students will be pleased to note that the film’s style differs according to the subplot: The police scenes are brutal, whereas the camera lingers calmly in the medical clinic where much of the other half story takes place.  Too bad that the inane dialogue often drags on long enough to make us notice the limits of the film’s budget: While the Paris 2025 establishing shot, holo-gadgets and two concept cars are convincing, the film eventually feels constrained… although it’s an eloquent compliment to the design crew that it takes a while before realizing so.  Overall, Chrysalis is a pleasant discovery that’s a notch above the usual direct-to-video material.  The DVD contains an informative making-of documentary that discusses the film’s action highlights and mentions the cultural challenges in making an “anticipation” film in France (it also mentions the design contribution of Renaissance’s director Christian Volckman).  There were a few better SF movies in 2007, but not that many more: SF fans shouldn’t ignore this one.

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