Je T’aime, Je T’aime – Time And Romance, Bitter-Sweetly

Quick Thoughts: I Love You, I Love You (Je T’aime, Je T’aime, 1968)

A suicidal man agrees to partake in time travel experiments that have only been successfully carried out on mice.

I had high hopes after the first 15 minutes of Je T’aime, Je T’aime, or, I Love You, I Love You. I was hoping for a profound exploration of a crucial element of many romances: time. In such, most romances contain characters wishing for time to be reversed, paused or skewed somehow, and the implications of this are quite intriguing. This is because humans are bound to time physically, but can be somewhat relinquished from it through memory and foresight (psychological tools through which we can seemingly manipulate spacetime). There is then a dissonance and a bitter-sweetness realised when memory cannot materialise, when the fact of reality reveals itself to be that time is not really in human hands. When this idea is combined with romance, tragedy of the most devastating kind can be produced – something that can be felt in films like Blue Valentine, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Intermezzo and Brief Encounter. However, I Love You, I Love You isn’t really a film that contains much of a commentary on this.

Whilst there are clear ruminations on a person’s place in time present within this narrative, it didn’t strike me as very cohesive or substantial. Instead, this movie was quite exhaustive – all because the edit provided an awful lot of information, but not much that was particularly rich of emotion. Moreover, our main character was pretty bland and this film isn’t, aesthetically speaking, a rather remarkable one. The biggest downfall of this movie, however, was that it really showcased The Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind to be lacking in certain respects. In such, Eternal Sunshine does well in the character department, but really doesn’t bring the fractured sense of memory and time into its narrative, nor form, as well as I Love You, I Love You does. But, whilst the approach to romance and memory through time machines was far more complex and intriguing in this narrative, it didn’t leave me thinking that this is the superior French Eternal Sunshine of the 60s.

Overall, this was quite a disappointing movie on this watch. There was something about it, however, that made me feel as if I have to re-watch it. So, whilst I’ve been left underwhelmed on this first watch, maybe I’ll be writing about this again more enthusiastically one day.



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