Va Savoir

(Who Knows?)


The entirety of Va Savoir seems to be a set-up for the final ten minutes of the film; a funny, farce-like sequence that resolves all the storylines and brings all the characters together. Getting to that point is the main problem. At times, the meticulous pacing and development of the characters feels like a chore. There is a lot of extraneous stuff going on, which does nothing but pad the running time. Va Savoir follows the lives of six people in Paris, each one of them involved in two relationships. Everything begins with Camille (Jeanne Balibar, Tomorrow's Another Day, Sade), a Parisian expatriate. She is returning to the city for the first time in three years. In the meantime, she has been touring with an Italian acting company. In Paris, she decides to meet her ex-boyfriend Pierre (Jacques Bonnaffe, Venus Beauty Institute, Innocent).

Pierre is now dating Sonia (Marianne Basler, Vidange, Marquise), a ballet teacher. She is considering an affair with Arthur (Bruno Todeschini, Once We Grow Up, The Libertine). The story hints at a relationship between Arthur and his stepsister (no blood relation) Do (Helene de Fougerolles, The Beach, Le Prof), a student. She meets Ugo (Sergio Castellito, Libero Burro, For Sale). Ugo is looking for a long lost play, and Do just happens to be the correct person to ask. Ugo is also the director of Camille's acting company, and the two are dating. Whew! Director Jacques Rivette (Secret Defense, Lumiere and Company) switches between the various stories and secret meetings easily, the main issue is that there is not much depth to most of the relationships. Arthur is hardly a character at all, with Sonia following closely behind. The brunt of the focus is on Camille, Ugo, Do, and then Pierre.

This is mostly the fault of the story, by Pascal Bonitzer (Lumumba, Rien sur Robert) and Christine Laurent (Up, Down, Fragile, Joan the Maid). The main point of the movie is to examine relationships. This means little if no plot. The plot that is there is mainly to spark conversation between the principals. So this puts the focus on the interaction between the actors. Here is where the sparkling conversation would redeem the movie, but the conversation is nothing special. It is nice and has its moments, but is otherwise, somewhat ordinary. The only thing left to watch is the actors. They feel at ease in their roles, thoroughly confused by their feelings for multiple people. At the same time, they and their significant others do not seem to care that much about their dalliances. Balibar, de Fougerolles, and Castellito are very good in their roles; the only good thing in an otherwise long long movie.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
2 hours, 34 minutes, French with English subtitles, Rated PG-13 for brief nudity.

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