The Moustache

2005 [FRENCH]

Drama / Mystery

IMDb Rating 6.6 10 5211

based on novel or book marriage escape conspiracy hotel

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN
September 02, 2022 at 09:25 AM

Top cast

Vincent Lindon as Marc Thiriez
Mathieu Amalric as Serge Schaeffer
Denis Ménochet as Serveur
787.07 MB
fre 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 25 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ftabouring 8 / 10

Ingeniously structured and passionately filmed...

Darkness prevails already at the very beginning of 'La Moustache', Emmanuel Carrère's proper adaptation of his novel of the same title, which he published back in the 1980's. Accompanying the opening credits is Philip Glass' perfectly composed and utterly gloomy Violin Concerto, which re-emerges throughout the movie and constantly supplies the global atmosphere of the film with an ominous and bewildering touch.

Welcome to this year's most abstruse film, and eventually the most challenging psychological experiment since 'The Machinist'. Presented at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in the 'Quinzaine des Réalisateurs' category - a category promoting abstract and rather unusual movies - 'La Moustache' follows the intricate story of Marc Thiriez (Vincent Lindon), an ordinary Parisian architect who slips into a vicious identity crisis after he spontaneously shaves off his moustache.

"How would you react if I shaved off my moustache?" Marc asks his girlfriend Agnès (Emmanuelle Devos) before they visit some friends for dinner. Her reaction is not immediate, and she simply replies "I don't know; I love you with it but I've never known you without it." So while Agnès leaves the apartment for a short time to do some shopping, Marc takes the risk and cuts off his beloved moustache, just like that, in order to see his lover's face and analyze her reaction when she returns home.

However, Marc will be severely disappointed: upon Agnès' arrival, she does not utter one single word. She seems not to notice the major physical change in Marc's face. Nor do their friends. Even Marc's colleagues at the office fail to perceive the absence of his moustache. Is he on the verge of madness? Or has he become the target of a massive conspiracy triggered by his own girlfriend? More weirdly, did he even ever have a moustache? Or was it part of some unexplainable imagination? Marc has no clue at all how to react to his baffling new situation…

When you enter the official movie website, a big question mark appears at the end of the flash intro. This question mark is totally appropriate, since it clearly illustrates what kind of movie 'La Moustache' really is: namely a confusing, puzzling drama with an open ending and a number of unexplainable twists, flashbacks and mysterious appearances by characters when you least expect it. "What is 'La Moustache' about?" is the first question of a recent online interview conducted with Emmanuel Carrère. The director himself has no answer to that crucial question.

Indeed, 'La Moustache' is one of these attention-grabbing cinematic mysteries that first baffle the spectators, and then leave them behind with a bunch of questions unanswered. There are though, in this ingeniously structured and passionately filmed movie, some easily detectable themes. For once, 'La Moustache' is an analysis of a dysfunctional couple tumbling into a conflict driven by mistrust. Marc soon accuses Agnès of plotting against him, but Agnès is deeply persuaded that Marc has in fact never had a moustache. This marks the beginning of a series of violent arguments and disputes.

Moreover, Carrère's film closely focuses on a man struggling with the inevitable loss of his personal identity. Marc is unable to distinguish between reality and imagination, and so he struggles hard to uncover the origins of the problem. He is a man all on his own against the rest of the world. In his apartment, he finds some old pictures from a vacation in Bali, all of them showing him with a moustache. But is he really the only one to see it? Is the moustache on this photo real or not? He does not know, and we do not either.

Especially the first part of 'La Moustache' is intensely compelling and dark, examining the relationship between Marc and Agnès, and closely focusing on Marc's progressive battle to keep his emotional and moral nature under control. When his consciousness slowly begins to shut down, the tension mounts as the suspense grows and the atmosphere becomes more and more threatening. Carrère has a brilliant vision, and he captures Marc's way into madness in a diverse and appealing way.

Marc is the perfect role for Vincent Lindon, whose look is continually as puzzling as the story itself. He masters his role with ideal perfection, always acting authentically. The same can be said about the brilliant Emmanuelle Devos ('La Femme de Gilles'), who delivers an enigmatic performance as Agnès. Her complex character is a true object of curiosity, and no one can trust her. Is she the evil woman ruining the mind of her partner? Or is she the reasonable person? Question marks à gogo.

The last twenty minutes of 'La Moustache', which follow Marc to Bangkok, where he repetitively embarks and disembarks ferries all day long, are quite debatable, yet very challenging. The film reaches yet another climax, takes another abrupt twist, and once again challenges us spectators by sparking our curiosity. Please do not expect a satisfying explanation towards the very ending, because 'La Moustache' ain't going to give you one. Many pieces of the puzzle remain untraceable; but that's exactly what makes this masterpiece so intriguing and unique. (Grade: B+)

Reviewed by oneloveall 6 / 10

Vincent Lindon's performance alone will make this soapy tale rinse down smoother

Borrowing a few techniques from the likes of Lynch or Haneke, La Moustache presents an engaging but intentionally confusing story of one man's facial hair and the strange series of events that are set off once that hairy upper lip was removed. Acting as a catalyst in this bizarrely written mystery, The Moustache really plays better as psychological drama then the semi-ludicrous, detail-specific, identity riddle it's seductive direction and powerful performances wooed us into believing. Guided by typical cornerstones of praised European fare, this film, as stubborn or illogical as it may be, is punctuated by the restrained and observant direction of it's original novelist Emmanuel Carrère, and crowned by the masterfully human performance Vincent Lindon imbues this difficult character. When the final credits have rolled, many will be left scratching their heads, already forming diverging conclusions as to what this movie actually had to say. Though there seemed to be too much left to speculation with too many plot holes to justify everything I saw, this was still a compelling mistake at worst and is still worth taking the shave even if the final result feels more pretentiously derivative then compellingly original.

Reviewed by TonesH 5 / 10

A Wonderfully Mysterious Film

When I was reading the description of this movie for the Sydney Film Festival I was instantly intrigued, and I certainly was not let down, as it lived both up to this description and my expectation of it.

The premise is delightfully simple: a man trims off his moustache after discussing the possibility with his partner, and after he does so she seems adamant that she never had one in the first place. The entire first half of the film is centred around the conflict that follows, and because of its simplicity I think it is the strongest part of the film. At first it is utterly engaging because of the way Marc responds to everyone's apprent disinterest in his new appearance. He is genuinely upset when his friends, and particularly his wife, do not respond to the change. I thought that it was an effective insight into relationships on the part of Carrere, showing how such a small thing can become such a big issue for a couple. The other feature of the first part of the film was the story regarding the radiator, which sets up the possibility that this could be an elaborate hoax. Though, from the naturalistic perspective the movie takes, it is absurd to think that his wife and friends could have orchestrated the entire affair, it is to Carrere's credit that the possibility is always niggling at the audience.

The progression to the second half of the movie, set in Hong Kong, was somewhat jarring. The trips on the boat, though furthering nicely the interesting water motif that permeated the film, got slightly repetitive before the final twist at the end. However, the appearance of his wife in his hotel room quickly makes one forget this, and really allows the audience to form their own opinion on the matter; is this the dillusion of a troubled man, or the sick game of a strange wife.

The film was excellently written and directed, and the music was inoffensive but effective. My only quibble was the quality of some parts of the movie, but I think this may have been a problem with the reel that was used. All in all it was a highly enjoyable movie for those who don't like to always know what's going on, but most enjoyment can be yielded from it if one appreciates the insights into relationships shown here, and not just into continuity of appearance.

Read more IMDb reviews

No comments yet

Be the first to leave a comment