An arty and thoroughly irritating sliver of a film from Jean-Paul Civeyrac, "Through the Forest" picks up with a woman climbing out of the bed she’s been sharing with her lover. He’s content to lounge, but she gets up, tries out a few hairstyles in the mirror, drapes herself in a scarf, and sings him a song (the soundtrack suddenly picks up to give her an instrumental accompaniment). She leaves the room, and when she comes back he’s gone, and what was a sunny day has become rainy. We learn that the man, Renaud (AurÃ©lien Wiik), has actually been dead for three months, and the woman, Armelle (Camille Berthomier), is convinced that he is visiting her regardless. Her practical sister BÃ©rÃ©nice thinks she’s crazy; her free-spirited sister Roxane thinks she should see a medium. She sees a medium. The medium tells her her lover died in an automobile accident by the ocean; he didn’t, he died in the woods, but this doesn’t matter to Armelle â€” she’s more interested in the fact that another man at the medium’s apartment bears a striking resemblance to the dead Renaud.
The notable thing about Civeyrac’s film is that its 65-minute runtime is taken up by only ten long shots, and these aren’t camera-left-in-the-corner shots, these are painstakingly choreographed takes that wander from room to room, the camera swooping through hallways, tracking conversations, wandering away and then returning to characters. As a technical achievement, it’s impressive; they’re gorgeous. But ack, that story! Swollen and silly with portentousness, saddled with a petulant heroine, and falling half-heartedly halfway between "Solaris" and "Ghost" â€” all the dazzling camerawork in the world couldn’t make it worthwhile.
"Ã€ travers la forÃªt (Through the Forest)" currently has no US distributor.