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Prise de risques

27/03/2008 - par Mark Tungate

Iseem to be a little ­obsessed by trends in film at the moment. My latest fixation is the apparent desire among film-makers to avoid the modern world. I developed this theory from two very different movies : The Darjeeling Limited and MR73. What could these films possibly have in common ?

Well, they are nostalgic for a time when the western world was a little less clean, a little more dangerous, and a lot less technological. In The Darjeeling Limited, three brothers travel across India aboard an antiquated train. Their clothing and hairstyles more or less approximate the 21st century. But there are no mobile phones, no computers, and a liberal dose of smoking, drinking and casual sex. And this is a quaint family comedy.

For Olivier Marchal, director of the dark police thriller MR73, there was no question of setting the movie in 2008. The film features a depressed Marseilles flic who drinks, smokes and shoots with abandon. If the film took place now, he wouldn't be able to smoke in his favourite bar and he'd be watching his cholesterol. Like Darjeeling, the film more or less takes place in the 1980s, but actually it's more of an undefined, ageless époque specific to these films. I believe we're going to see a lot more of this - and many more films set in edgy cities like Cairo and Istanbul. From air bags in cars to smoking bans, we are slowly removing every element of risk from our lives. That's good for us, but not much fun for movie-makers.

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