August 3, 2021

Review of ‘You go to my head’: the memory of the desert

You go to my head ★★★

Direction: Dimitri de Clercq

Distribution: Delfine Bafort, Svetozar Cvetkovic, Arend Pinoy

Original title: ‘You go to my head’

Countries: Belgium / France / Germany

Duration: 116 minutes

Year: 2017

Gender: Drama

Premiere: February 14, 2020

‘You go to my head’ is the title of a jazz standard composed in 1936 and recorded by, among others, Billie Holiday, Coleman Hawkins, Bill Evans, Betty Carter and Cassandra Wilson. In the film of the same title, the version chosen is with the delicate and tremulous voice of Chet Baker. It is no clue about the style of the film, since its pause is quite different, the cadence has nothing melancholic and the atmosphere is too heavy.

The film focuses on the relationship between two characters in unique and unalterable spaces. She has suffered a car accident in the middle of the desert. He rescues her days later, lost, dead from fatigue and thirst. She does not remember anything about what happened or who she is. The rescuer claims to be her husband, but both he and we know that he is not. Or maybe it is?

We can think of titles like ‘Walkabout’, shot in 1971 in the Australian desert by Nicolas Roeg and centered on the odyssey of two young men in dangerous and unexplored territory for them. But the director of ‘You go to my head’, the Belgian Dimitri de Clercq, seems to be closer to the style of some of the filmmakers he has produced, such as Alain Tanner and Raoul Ruiz, or that of his previous film shot two and a half decades ago, ‘Un bruit que rend fou’, which had the collaboration by Alain Robbe Grillet, main representative of the nouveau roman and screenwriter of ‘Last year in Marienbad’.

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De Clercq he tries to be as abstract as they are, to reject naturalism to embrace a certain idea of ​​the fantastic, but the result is quite parsimonious, if not self-absorbed. It fails in its attempt to endow space – the immensity of the Moroccan desert – with the same prominence as the human figures that move through it. There is too much formalism in the antidramatic interpretation of the two actors, in the use of more or less avant-garde music and the rigidity of the frames. The result has some hypnotic moments and compositions, but a set too linked to a somewhat outdated type of European avant-garde cinema.