If you crave insouciance, you can overdose on it at "Blue Country," the latest movie by Jean-Charles Tacchells. The American art-house market and a large percentage of the moviegoing world were beguiled by Tacchella's "Cousin, Cousine," although its charms could be detected fading the longer the premise was strung out.
"Blue Country," now at the K-B Cerberus, is cheerfully stupefying from the outset. After two hours of such beamish, remorseless inconsequentiality, one may feel a little more forgiving about efforts as woefully, if sincerely, inadequate as "Holocaust."
"Holocaust at least has authentic sources of human drama and tragedy Hickering inside its sluggish sanitized TV ambience. "Blue Country" seems to envision the human race as a community of pilixilated dear hearts. Even when he depicts a suicide, Tacchella makes it look serenely darling. In his context the euphemism "beauty rest" would be more appropriate than "suicide."
"Blue Country" is set in the Luberon Mountain area of Haute-Provence in the south of France, where Tacchella himself has taken up residence. The countryside looks wonderful and the movie might have evolved into something wonderful if Tacchella had developed his idea of showing the social interactions and contradictions between the Parisians who homestead in the area, seeking escape from the metropolis, and the native farmers and shopkeepers, ironically inclined to long for an urban way of life.
Unfortunately, the characters never attain enough character and the story never generates enough incident or conflict to get a comic pot simmering. Tacchella flits back and forth between newcomers and locals whose personalities and impulses remain uniformly superficial.
Everyone is treated like an eccentric but endearing pet. No one matters. Tacchella even fails to get a satisfactory grip on his key romantic relationship, an affair between a sunny nurse played by Brigitte Fossey and a dour farmer played by Jacques Serrers. One invests so little interest in this casual liaison between mindless partners that it comes as a considerable shock when Taccehella wraps up a potentially endless picture by endorsing them as a model of contemporary loving friendship.
Compared to the lovers in "Blue Country," Annie Hall and Alvy Singer really were a big-time screen romance. Tacchella has an ingenuous view of sex and companionship that tends to get a little sick-making. He didn't seem to know when to quit in "Cousin, Cousine." The satisfaction that derived from seeing the nice, betrayed spouses pair off with each other began to decline as Tacchella persisted in playfull glamorizing their romance, which began to resemble the scenes of romping bear cubs and otters in a wildlife documentary.
Tacchella must be oblivious to the triviality lurking beneath the pleasant, spontaneous surface of his films. His darting teachnique seemed rather agreeable in "Cousin, Cousine; he didn't linger too long over anything. He doesn't linger in "Blue Country" either, but you don't feel anything would be worth lingering over, Tacchella seems intent on reviving the tradition of the Gallic Romp. With luck "Blue Country" will prove such an insufferable lark that the tradition can be laid back to rest.