Sunday 16 October 2011

At the LFF: "Nobody Else But You/Poupoupidou"

Trace elements of Twin Peaks (not to mention certain other 50s-infused fictions) dot the tragicomic murder-mystery Nobody Else But You (a.k.a. Poupoupidou), about a writer (Jean-Paul Rouve) who pulls into a small town on the Franco-Swiss border just as the body of a local celebrity is discovered frozen in the snow. Stuck for book ideas, he begins an investigation of his own, uncovering a deskful of diaries that collectively tell the sad and sorry tale of a provincial girl (Sophie Quinton, in flashbacks) hooked on a dream of stardom, yet destined to know only unhappiness in her personal life - watching over the writer as he tenderly inspects her corpse, the girl's spirit is moved to remark: "Typical I should meet a nice guy only after I'm dead."

Where Lynch knew how to make similar material cut deep, any latent tragedy in Gerald Hustache-Mathieu's film is undercut, at least initially, by the sheer range of surface kooks and quirks we encounter (the writer has hyper-sensitive hearing, and the plot stops so that everyone can go bowling), such that it often has the look of a post-Midsomer Sunday night television pilot. Yet there are vivid moments and details - a desk toy modelled on Courbet's The Origin of the World, a pen name (Magnus Hørn) seemingly inspired by the current interest in Scandinavian crime fiction - and something subtly clever in the way the men in the doomed blonde heroine's life (the sportsman, the older man of culture, the man of power) come to mirror those in Marilyn Monroe's life. As fan fiction goes, it can only summon up a limited amount of the emotional devastation contained within the pages of Kathryn Hyatt's graphic novel Marilyn for Beginners, but Quinton is such a bombshell filming cheese commercials and weather reports, and so tragic everywhere else she appears on screen, that Nobody Else But You comes finally to serve as its own modest kind of tribute.

Nobody Else But You screens at the Vue West End tomorrow (Mon 17) at 9pm, and again on Thu 20 at 1pm.

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