Pendant ce temps sur Terre by Jérémy Clapin: Our review of the French sci-fi film

Published by Manon de Sortiraparis · Published on April 9th, 2024 at 08:40 p.m.
Jérémy Clapin mixes live-action and animated sequences in his new film, Pendant ce temps sur Terre, in cinemas July 3, 2024.

Unveiled at the last Berlinale, Pendant ce temps sur Terre arrives in cinemas on July 3, 2024. Billed as a French sci-fi film - a rare enough feat to merit a mention - Jérémy Clapin 's new film is in fact an intimate drama about grief and its consequences for a sibling.

After a string of awards for J'ai perdu mon corps (Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique at Cannes, César for Best Animated Feature and even an Oscar nomination), the French director is now tackling live-action with the same poetic flair.

Elsa(Megan Northam, revealed in Mikhaël Hers' Les Passagers de la nuit ), 23, has always been very close to her older brother Franck, a spaceman who mysteriously disappeared 3 years earlier during a space mission. One night, she is contacted from space by an unknown life form who claims to be able to bring her brother back to earth. But to do so, she has three days to satisfy their amoral demands: her brother's life in exchange for those of five Earthlings.

Jérémy Clapin takes care never to show this extraterrestrial form of life in the image, emphasizing instead a sharp sound work, blended with the music of Dan Levy, ex-member of The Dø, who signs here a second soundtrack for the director. It's a way of allowing all manner of mental representations of these are-from-elsewhere, and of differentiating between the two worlds - the sister's organic one, and the brother's, who seems to be speaking in an anechoic chamber, from the nothingness of space.

But it's also a way of casting doubt on this encounter. Could the alien voices Elsa hears simply be a projection of her mind? Leaving the door open to personal interpretation, Clapin turns Elsa into a ferrywoman of souls, crossing the fir forest as she would navigate the River Styx, between two quantum worlds.

To link these two worlds, Jérémy Clapin returns to his first love with black-and-white animation sequences reminiscent of Leiji Matsumoto's universe, suspended in space and time. Meanwhile, on Earth, life goes on and humans come to terms with death.

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts July 3rd, 2024

× Approximate opening times: to confirm opening times, please contact the establishment.
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