Novo Made in: France Language: French, and a little Spanish Director: Jean-Pierre Limosin Starring: Eduardo Noriega, Anna Mouglalis, Nathalie Richard, Eric Caravaca, Lény Bueno, Paz Vega Year: 2002
Synopsis: Graham (Eduardo Noriega) is an office worker who has a problem with his short-term memory. He forgets events just hours after they happen, and only manages to keep his life together with the help of a notebook and numerous post-it notes.
Graham is taken advantage of by his boss, Sabine (Nathalie Richard), who often has sex with him in secret (knowing he'll forget moments later). One day, an attractive temp worker named Iréne (Anna Mouglalis) begins a relationship with him. But every time they sleep together, Graham forgets who she is by the next morning.
At the same time, Graham's best friend Fred (Eric Caravaca), his forgotten wife Isabelle (Paz Vega), his son Antoine (Lény Bueno), and psychologist (Bernard Bloch) all have their reasons for either wanting him to recover or to go on as he is. Inevitably, Graham begins discovering his past, and claims to regain most of his memory as he embarks on a bizarre, confusing journey.
Remarks: With plenty of in-your-face sexuality and strange circumstances, Novo will fit the stereotype of "weird foreign films" to the unseasoned viewer. Intended to be part comedy, drama, and thriller, the story follows a very bold but abstract structure.
Not much is outright explained, and if you ever watch this film, you'll most likely be confused as to whether it's a story about a conspiracy, a scientific experiment, or some kind of dastardly set-up.
Although the cast is strong, I didn't find myself caring too much about the characters. Graham comes across as odd, Iréne is a little hard to figure out, and Paz Vega is relegated to a minor role where her acting talent is barely utilized.
Visually, it's artistic and energetic. It's lack of coherence, however, will be a real turn-off to you if you're expecting some kind of logical plot. Eduardo Noriega and Paz Vega speak mainly French (instead of their native Castellano), which is impressive but a little hard to get used to at first.
Who would like this film: Novo is for you if you like art-house, unconventional films or experimental cinema. If you're just starting to get into foreign films, I wouldn't recommend it because most of the time you'll be scratching your head or letting your mind wander as the story drifts from one weird scene to the next.
There's plenty of explicit, on-screen sexuality, so if you like shots of naked women, Anna Mouglalis certainly won't disappoint (but this only occurs in the first half). But there are also too many not-so-sexy shots of Eduardo Noriega's hairy butt, which got tiresome. After a while, you might just find yourself shouting, "put some clothes on, man!" to the screen.