To evoke his friend who died of an overdose, the filmmaker embarks on a long trip to Siberia. A dispersed and inconsolable reverie around the void left by the loved one.
We know David Teboul for his elegant, experimental television documentaries which, even on the small screen, allow themselves autofiction, reverie, and cinematographic essay ( Sigmund Freud, a Jew without God in 2019, Hervé Guibert, death propaganda, in 2021 ). So many ways to extricate the “television documentary” from all its usual automatisms to remake it into an ambitious and poetic, demanding, and popular format. Freud, Guibert, Yves Saint Laurent, Bardot… Each of his films seems to be the piece of a larger puzzle, secretly composes a masked, modest self-portrait: with Teboul, and this seems to be a principle, to write about oneself, he must go through the others – and vice versa.
More frontally subjective and designed for the big screen, Mon amour opens with a letter from a lover, Frédéric, with whom the filmmaker shared ten years of his life: “It’s amazing what you have to invent in order to not resign oneself to only eat, drink, shit and piss, get out of animality. My problem is never knowing what I really want and having such variable and irreconcilable desires. In 2007, a few months after their breakup, Frédéric died of an overdose at the age of 37. My love will be – to use an expression of Guibert who we think of a lot – the mausoleum of lovers, a space where Teboul deposits his mourning, his memories, his guilt, but also a place where it becomes possible to address one last time to the deceased loved one.
A well of images
As usual, the director takes a long detour to fall back on his suffering and begins a long journey to Siberia – where no one would think of going to talk about love. In front of his camera parade villagers of all generations quickly break down modesty and gradually indulge in the exercise. There is the harshness of the elders, their faces mottled by the years, the climate, and the hardships, and who speak of love as one evokes a country visited a very long time ago, on the verge of oblivion; the youth who would like to believe in it a little longer despite the weight of disillusionment. We thought we were falling on banal stories, we come across crimes, tales: a man who has not seen his wife (the love of his life) for 20 years, because she lives in town and he cannot live away from the Taiga.
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Here, in this icy landscape, all happiness seems very far away, lost. Very quickly, the inconsolable lover dilutes his drama in the stories of others. He decenters himself, forgets himself a little, and composes, on the other side of the world, a small community of mourners. This arid territory, petrified in the nostalgia of Soviet Russia, seems to formulate an inner landscape, the image of a world after loss, which perfectly suits its grief.