Forty-something Quebeçois Philippe Roberge is floundering in his life. He believes that no one listens to him or takes him seriously. A graduate student in Philosophy of Scientific Culture, he has just failed his Ph.D. dissertation for the second time, his theory of interest in outer space being a narcissistic response from man being widely rejected throughout the community. To make ends meet, he works selling newspaper subscriptions. And he has a cordial but basically non-existent relationship with his ex-wife. Philippe examines his life in response to the recent death of his mother coupled with his dissertation beliefs. Although she lived in a care home, he acted as her primary caregiver. His only remaining family is his younger gay brother, André, the two who could not have more different temperaments. As such, they do not get along. Following his mother’s death, Philippe’s thoughts about his life are influenced by three major incidents: being invited to speak at a major conference in Russia by a cosmonaut who he idolizes, entering a contest on sending messages into outer space, and receiving information regarding the nature of his mother’s death.
A magical, quiet, subtle and rich movie. This is one of those movies where the experience surpasses any attempt at description. Phillippe is a sad man who seeks out the greatness in humanity through space travel. But he is constantly bogged down by his cynicism and perception of reality, and writes a thesis on how humankind’s attempts at reaching the moon were driven by narcissism. This metaphor is combined with the far side of the moon as a hidden, disfigured facet, the movie drawing parallels with this man’s turmoil and troubled relationship with his gay, superficial, twin brother. All this heaviness is perfectly balanced with the humor and subtle comedy emerging from his personality, one highlight being a video he prepares to instruct aliens on the lifestyle and foibles of mankind. Another special mention must go to the highly inventive segues and superimpositions of fantasy and imagination, many of them so smooth and beautifully done, they result in surreal moments, leading to the delightfully playful ending.
— The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre [Zev Toledano]
Subtitles:English (muxed, srt)