Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Le Couple Temoin
France/Switzerland, 1977. Artco-Film, Films Paris-New York, Institut National de L’Audiovisuel. Screenplay by William Klein. Cinematography by William Klein, Philippe Rousselot. Produced by Roger Fleytoux. Music by Michel Colombier. Costume Design by Agnes B., Georges Bril. Film Editing by Valerie Mayoux.
The “Ministry of Future” selects a married couple to be examined up close for data collection purposes: their eating habits, the length of time they spend making love, and their various emotional states while going through daily rituals. André Dussollier and Anémone are overseen by a pushy director who isn’t above coming into their bedroom after the two have had sex to give them instructions and feedback, then retreats to the control room where she interacts with her team as they mull over the information they are collecting. The film takes place in a near-future atmosphere with funky sets whose minimalism is constantly interrupted by ugly machines and wires everywhere; director William Klein does not want you to be seduced by any kind of futuristic beauty while he’s telling you about the dangers of a culture that, in its quest for bettering people’s lives, excessively examines the natural minutiae of our existence until it ceases to have meaning. Fresh and spontaneous, the film is a Truman Show pre-cursor with quite a few humorous conceits, though as with many of Klein’s films, there are moments when it sags under the weight of its brainy concept that favours theorizing over dramatic content.