Mind Caviar Movies

"Movies have mirrored our moods and myths since the century began. 
They have taken on some of the work of religion."
-- Jennifer Stone (1988)

Mind Caviar, Vol. 2 Summer Issue 2001

Our sexy character Clara, is computer animated, not to be confused with the acronym Computer Aided Rendering and Animation (CARA).
Thomas in Love 
Independent Film Channel (IFC) Films 
US Release August 2001

Directed by Pierre-Paul Renders
Written by Philippe Blaasband
Starring Benoit Verhaert, Aylin Yay, Magali Pinglault
Live Action and Computer Animation in French with English subtitles

Visit the Thomas in Love Official Website

Thomas in Love Film Review
by A. Lark

"Frequent Net Users May Grow Reclusive" was the local paper's headline a year ago. I keep the clipped article on my refrigerator door for a laugh every now and then. It's a reminder of the danger of jumping to conclusions from ill-conceived studies, and also that there really is a world out there: the green and concrete room with the big blue ceiling. The study's main flaw was that you could replace "Net Users" with "Dog Walkers" or "Macrame Artists" and come to the same result-- that any activity that takes time away from socialization must therefore lead to reclusion.

The Net-- the world's infinite library, theater, telephone, bulletin board, jukebox, and stimulator, both mental and carnal. It can connect you with practically any other user in seconds. Most business transactions can now take place over the Net. Before every company with ".com" in the name went bye-bye, you could order just about every sundry imaginable. You can be anyone you like on your side of the monitor. That's an awful lot of power and potential anonymity.

Let's take the "reclusive" argument above to it's illogical conclusion. What if a person decided, "To Hell with this," and lived a vicarious life behind a terminal? What if he had no more use for the world outside and got every human need filled via network cable? Flash forward to one of many possible futures, a practical utopia as far as our physical survival needs are concerned. The Net is ubiquitous--all services are combined, from web access to visiophone to television. Our subject has for some time not only not felt the need to go outside, but is also an acute agoraphobe. He is Thomas Thomas, the lead character of Thomas in Love, directed by Pierre-Paul Renders and written by Philippe Blasband.

pic Thomas has remained in his comfortable dwelling for eight years, neither leaving nor allowing visitors. He communicates with family and friends via visiophone, has his groceries delivered, and is currently under insurance-approved therapy for his phobia. Apart from his somewhat intrusive mother and friends, there is no other human contact in his life. His lust is satisfied by a virtual companion, the computer-generated curvaceous sexpot named Clara, who doesn't get introduced to his friends and family. She's not exactly the girl to bring round to dinner, but she is perfect for nightcaps.
After eight years of solitude, his psychiatrist believes that Thomas hasn't yet found a reason to leave his house just yet, and signs him up for a dating service. His insurance agent meanwhile thinks that the government-run prostitution bureau would be beneficial to him. Thomas is introduced to a woman from each service from afar. Mélodie from the dating service is warm, open and compassionate, while the prostitute Eva is reserved and brooding. Thomas is drawn towards Eva, an anomaly in a society of happy and contented people. He's not sure if he can leave his zone of comfort to find what may be his missing element. And so the story begins. pic

The movie is directed from Thomas' point of view. The audience never sees him in full, but is with him for each experience that draws him potentially closer to the outside. The actors were filmed just as the viewer sees them--through small cameras pointed at their faces and bodies, conversing with only an image of another person.
pic It's a vision of a utopian dystopia, where complete comfort is the highest attainable goal for the society. There doesn't appear to be any forethought given as to why this may not necessarily be a Good Thing. Thomas is in a world where struggle, strife, and tribulation are shady memories of civilization, but he himself is yearning for something beyond his mundane existence. In true French style, his primary battle is with his ennui, his realization of purpose, and desire to love and be loved. None of his technology can deliver those, and the audience must discover this truth alongside him.

Visit the Thomas in Love official website for more information on release date, theatres playing the film, and more on the movie.

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Copyright © 2001 A. Lark. All rights reserved. 
All Thomas in Love official photos are copyright and licensed to IFC Films and are used with permission of IFC Films.  All Rights Reserved.
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