I Dreamt Under the Water/J’ai rêvé sous l’eau (2007)
French with English Subtitles
Antonin, a young musician in love with his best friend Alex, the lead singer of the group who dies from a drug overdose; life falls apart for him and finds comfort in the alleyways with strange men and when his divorced mother has to return home, he stays behind and become a male hustler. After many night in other men and women beds he finds that this isn’t the life he wanted. One night, Antonin goes to a party and meets Juliette. There is chemistry between the two and Antonin is deeply in love. Juilette seems to be what he was missing out of his life and she seems to love him as well but beneath the surface lies her past and quickly enough the things that appear on the shore at his feet may be more than he can deal with. (pun intended)
Okay, I don’t I will start with this often. Warnings: It isn’t softcore porn. It does have drug use, gratuitous stimulated M/M and M/F sex scenes, full frontal nudity and if take one second to look, a nude transsexual. It isn’t softcore porn.
Now that you been warned, Antonin has a nightingale complex, he wanted to love/fix the person to health. He tried this with Alex peripherally and more direct with Juilette and both cases having utter failure. The one bright spot which Antonin doesn’t see (probably because he doesn’t need help) is a former client named Baptiste who shows genuine affection and burgeoning love for him. He even helps Antonin by giving him a job at his video store.
Now there are parts that I wished they sped up such as Juliette’s disappearance, I see they needed to connection her being gone to Antonin’s worry but since I knew he was going to find her that I could live without a few montages? of his angst. Also I wished they explained Antonin’s love for Alex, he takes about the first 20 minutes of the film, and while we saw the interest and passion on Antonin ‘s side which was the point of the unrequited love it just odd that this great love of his wasn’t enough for him to go the funeral. That’s just weird. And his fall into degradation isn’t really a long fall as the hustling, drugs and depression doesn’t last long. Also contribution to the weirdness.
I found it to be visually lovely, the atmosphere is either muted and dark or vibrant and bright, showing parts of Paris we normally not see. One scene that I like was the show of Antonin and Alex sleeping in the bed what I assumed was near the subway with the lights flashing in and out over them. What I’m guessing from the title is Antonin’s life is weighting him down and pushing heavy like being under water. I do wonder then when he meets Juliette that those scenes of them on the beach naked, with him on the beach rather in the water and when they are in the water he is happy. Possibly important to the idea behind the title but not enough for me to delve into. (No pun intended.)
Lastly, The ending is… open ended and while it gives enough possibles to choose your own ending. However I wished maybe they had given a more concrete answer for an ending even if it isn’t the one I want. But on the whole if you can get pass those warnings, it is worth renting or at least finding it in your collection.
French w/English Sub Language Trailer: