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The Beat that My Heart Skipped

A French Neo-Noir steeped in beautiful music

The Beat that My Heart Skipped
Though he's directed only four features, a case could be made for writer-director Jacques Audiard as France's most compelling, most visceral and exciting filmmaker. A case his latest film, the forceful The Beat That My Heart Skipped, does nothing but strengthen.

A frenetic young man can't choose between his father's mobster life and his mother's world of the concert piano. With Romain Duris indelible as protagonist Tom, The Beat cuts to the bone emotionally and refuses to flinch.

Determined to avoid what he called "over-insistent jump cutting," Audiard decided that every scene should be done in long, single-shot takes. And making those shots hand-held and almost always from Tom's point of view ensures that, in Fontaine's words, "the camera is an organic part of the character. It has to feel the same things that Tom feels, experience the things he experiences."

One day, completely by chance, Tom catches sight of his mother's former agent. It's clear from their conversation that once upon a time Tom was a pianist with promise, so much so that the agent leaves him with an open invitation to audition when he feels ready.

Rather than brush the invite aside, he feels it take hold of him like a powerful drug, the dream of the person he might have been haunting him like a ghost. The heart of "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" is the uncomfortable, unavoidable conflict between these two halves of Tom, whose passion for the piano also symbolizes a desire to escape his life that he refuses to acknowledge. (K. Turan, L.A. Times)

The Beat that My Heart Skipped

Thu & Fri October 27 & 28, 2005, 7:00 & 9:15, Muenzinger Auditorium

107min, France, 2005, in French w/English subtitles, Color • official site

recommend

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