Dir. Jean-Pierre Limosin
Novo tells a story that is part Memento, part 50 First Dates (although this French film, a 2002 product, predates the latter tale): the lead character, Graham (Eduardo Noriega) suffers from short term memory loss thanks to an accident. This being a French film, the memory loss leads to him being kept as a sexual plaything for his boss, Sabine (Nathalie Richard).
The usual aides memoire of memory-loss films - writing in notebooks, on the skin, on the walls - come into play for Graham, particularly after he meets Irene (Anna Mouglalis), an office temp who falls for his clear charm (charm being a property of the immediate, rather than time-dependent). So is love dependent on memory and the accumulation of shared experiences, or can one fall in love at first sight? Oh brave new world.
Unlike either of the other two films mentioned, however, Novo doesn't do much to develop these philosophical implications of short-term memory loss. Indeed, the film holds the potential for all sorts of interesting questions: how dependent on memory is intimacy? What about Graham's ex-wife Isabelle and his son Antoine, neither of whom he remembers? Is his real love now the love he has built and learnt to cope with, with Irene? Or that of the past? But there is no depth to the film's inquiry: these are questions that could've been explored, but are instead merely tangentially glanced upon. Novo may shine on the surface thanks to Limosin's cool direction, and the erotic charge of its early scenes is undeniable (what is it about French actresses that makes them seem so effortlessly sexy?), but it settles instead into a film that resembles a charming man without history: elegant, but shallow.
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