Dewy Kunetz, Sandra Poitoux, Hugues Njiba-Mukuna
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…an odd little movie, as much for what it lacks as for its content…
This film is set on the French Riviera, but it’s not remotely luxuriant or escapist. The titular Sophia Antipolis is a technology park, and to the extent in which the downbeat story has a focus, it’s the discovery of an incinerated human body – and the mystery of its identity and how the unfortunate person met their doom.
The characters here include a Vietnamese woman who came to France in response to a matchmaking service, a couple of security guards and a young woman who decides to have a breast implant operation. Their paths intersect, sometimes vaguely, and the mundane is intermittently offset by the bizarre in the form of references to peculiar or mystical experiences and apocalyptic possibilities – and a meeting of an organisation which purports to be neither a sect or a cult, but which certainly looks like one. The pace is slow, and the effect is mostly limited, one notable exception being a powerful – and ugly – combat training scene. The cast includes non-actors.
Sophia Antipolis is an odd little movie, as much for what it lacks as for its content: there is virtually no music, there’s not a great deal of plot in the conventional sense, and most of the main characters are unnamed. There are some effective static shots, but the pervasive muted and hollow ambience makes it both diverting and dull in roughly equal measure. Virgil Vernier’s films get praised for their ‘documentary feel’, and the way they supposedly blur fiction and non-fiction, but it’s a mixed blessing at best.