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  CQ What Happens In The End?
Year: 2002
Director: Roman Coppola
Stars: Jeremy Davies, Angela Lindvall, Elodie Bouchez, Gérard Depardieu, Billy Zane, Massimo Ghini, Giancarlo Giannini, John Phillip Law, Jason Schwartzman, Dean Stockwell, L.M. Kit Carson, Sofia Coppola
Genre: Drama, Romance, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: It's Christmas 1969 and film editor Paul Ballard (Jeremy Davies) is working on a science fiction romp called Codename Dragonfly in Paris. While he does that, he is "borrowing" film to shoot his own black and white documentary about his life; meanwhile, when the director of the sci-fi adventure, Andrejez (Gerard Depardieu) shows the producer Enzo (Giancarlo Giannini) what he's come up with, Enzo is furious. Andrejez wants to end the film not with a bang, but with a whimper, but Enzo wants action, action, and more action. Andrejez is sacked, and a chain of events begins that sees Paul become the director of Codename Dragonfly - but he has no idea how to end the movie.

Written by the director Roman Coppola, CQ is a film steeped in film culture, packed with references and homage. Paul can only relate to life through films, as he single-mindedly details his everyday thoughts through his camera. His stewardess girlfriend Marlene (Elodie Bouchez) points out early on that, he may think its a good idea to find meaning in the day to day happenings of his existence, "but what if it's boring?" He conducts imaginary interviews with himself while sitting on the toilet, and becomes more and more introspective, so that his girlfriend is alienated and his grasp on reality, triggered by Codename Dragonfly, is weakened.

The fantasy film within a film is a lovingly recreated rendering of all those campy, European adventures like Barbarella, Danger: Diabolik (John Phillip Law plays a role here), The Tenth Victim and Modesty Blaise. Dragonfly, played by Valentine, played by Angela Lindvall, is a glamorous superspy from the year 2001, called on to steal back a secret weapon from a group of revolutionaries (led by Billy Zane) whose base is on the moon. In truth, although beautifully done, Dragonfly doesn't look as if it would last over twenty minutes, never mind stretch to a full length feature, and doesn't quite bear the weight that Paul (or Coppola) places on it.

The first choice for director after Andrejez is Felix (the excellent Jason Schwartzman), an over-enthusiastic boy wonder who is unexpectedly injured in a car crash after finishing his vampire epic. Then, the editing room is sabotaged, and Paul suspects that the passionate Andrejez is trying to scupper the film, thinking if he can't make it, no one can. Art imitates life in CQ, where the revolutionary ideals of Andrejez inform Dragonfly's storyline, and Paul's girlfriend troubles and retreat from life into movies make their way into the fiction, too.

Obviously the work of a man who is infatuated with film, CQ frequently sees Paul obsessively editing, shooting or simply stroking his new handheld camera. This is its strength and weakness: if you like the 60s movies Coppola references, and if you enjoy behind the scenes gossip, then you'll warm to CQ, but like its dazed protagonist, it's so wrapped up in the film world that you feel as distant from Paul as his girlfriend does. Everything in life goes to feed the movies, and fantasy and reality blur, with Paul carrying out conversations with the fictional character even as he falls for Valentine. The nicely dreamlike result is charming to look at, with a fine reconstruction of the late sixties, but is too self-absorbed as a whole. Real life, boring or not, doesn't get much of a look in, which, I suppose, fits the mood. Music by Mellow.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Roman Coppola  (1965 - )

The son of Francis Ford Coppola, Roman, like his sister Sofia Coppola, continued in the family business, at first by working behind the scenes for his father on such films as Rumble Fish, The Outsiders and Bram Stoker's Dracula. He became known as a talented director of music videos, notably for the Strokes, before making his feature debut with CQ, a love letter to cinema. He is the cousin of Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman.

 
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