“Vitalium Valentine”: the film’s title is in fact an injunction. Valentine is the assistant of Professor Frédéric W. Stein (Victor Frankenstein’s great-grandson), and the sentence should rather read “Vitalium, Valentine”. In this coma, this small glitch, lies the main sidestep of this film by Jean-Charles Fitoussi (De la musique ou la Jota de rosset, FID 2013). In a majestic castle in the Drôme (South of France), an entire family is frozen in time forever by Professor Stein’s science. Using two products, Résurrectine and Vitalium, and some traces of “mnemonic DNA” found in the depths of the castle, Stein revives the place’s former inhabitants under our eyes, using the family’s sleeping bodies as receptacles for these intriguing zombies. Under a tongue-in-cheek pretence of realism, Vitalium Valentine begins with a fake sense of tranquillity before opening up onto unexpected connections. Stein’s experiment becomes a tormented love affair, as we immerse ourselves with him into a vast expanse of surprising emotions: although individual stories are fragmented, the spectator can still feel their coherence – just like the film plays with dispersion without ever scattering itself.
In Fitoussi’s films as in Tourneur’s, filmed reality is sufficient unto itself. Attempting to explain how so many different temporalities can be deployed before our eyes would be pointless. As mere mortals, our only measure is the vertigo of time. (V.P.)
- French Competition
Vitalium, Valentine !
- French Competition
France / 2017 / Colour / HD, Stéréo / 60’
Original version : french.
Subtitles : english.
Script : Jean-Charles Fitoussi.
Photography : Sébastien Buchmann, Tom Harari, Julien Roux, Alan Guichaoua.
Editing : Jean-Charles Fitoussi.
Sound : Erwan Kerzanet, Elton Rabineau, Nicolas Mas, François Boudet.
Casting : Frédéric Schiffter, David Brouzet, Serge Reboul, Philippe Irrmann, Guillaume Gallienne, Jacqueline Queneau, Adeline d’Hermy, Xavier Bonnet, Françoise Forget, Valentine Krasnochok, Christelle Piccarreta, Emmanuel Levaufre, Gérard Paquet, Guillaume Leingre.
Production : Jean-Charles Fitoussi (Aura été).
Distribution : François Haties (Aura été).
– Interludes / Les animaux panchroniques, 2014
– De la musique / La jota de rosset, 2013
– Mitsou, 2014
– L’enclos du temps, 2012
– Je ne suis pas morte, 2008