Next Cinema International Film-Within-a-Film Combines Love, Espionage, and Psychological Thrillers

Feb 5, 2020

Murray State's Cinema International program continues its French theme with Ismael's Ghosts, a 2017 film directed by Arnaud Desplechin. Director of the Cinema International program, Dr. Thérèse St. Paul, visits Sounds Good to discuss the upcoming screening.

From IMDb:

"Having run away twenty-one years ago, Carlotta (Marion Cotillard) is back out of the blue. Ismael (Mathieu Amalric) has been busy rebuilding a life for himself next to Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg) while working on his next feature film. As Ismael's trials and tribulations unfurl, so do those of the main character of his film: the idle, funny, and reckless diplomat Ivan Dédalus (Louis Garrel). A film within a film - and then some, Desplechin layers narrative upon narrative. With Ismael's Ghosts, Desplechin returns once again to the past, creating film after film as his way of stepping back in time, and proving yet again that his brand of genius lies in his ability to find light in the darkest of places."

"[Ismael's Ghosts] is about complicated love," St. Paul begins. "That's why there is a ghost. One of the lines I picked up from one of the critics is that Ismael's Ghosts tells us that maybe our most persistent ghosts are the living whom we have failed. When ghosts come and haunt you, they may not be real ghosts, but there's something about these characters that you've failed."

"It is definitely a psychological thriller. The story itself has a film within a film," St. Paul explains. "You are always shifting between the film that [the main character] is making and directing and his own life, which turns out to be also some kind of complex film. We have subplots. We have espionage thriller thrown in this movie and a psychological thriller at the same time."

Although the film is in French, St. Paul assures that the subtleties of life imitating art will still be comprehensible to English-speaking audiences. "You just have to pay attention...it's a movie you want to pay attention to. And we always discuss afterwards anyway." This discussion will include the "human interaction that's going on...the artistic side of making a movie that's not chronological...you can carry it to another level which is more philosophical."

Ismael's Ghosts will be presented in the Curris Center Theater on Thursday, February 6th and Saturday, February 8th at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Donations to the program are accepted can be made in person or online. If using the online form, select "other" as the gift designation and indicate "Cinema International" in the comment section. 

For more information on Murray State Cinema International, including the rest of the Spring 2020 season's featured films, visit the Murray State website.