Parisian sci-fi

Although one can trace story elements and some concepts to better-known and more elaborately produced sci-fi films, Julien Leclercq's Chrysalis (Anchor Bay/Starz) is still worth a peek for the look to which I'm admittedly biased - clean, lean futuristic architecture that might not look like the kind of building you'd call home, but looks great in widescreen and an icy blue/chilly grey/sterile white colour scheme. You know, like the modern designs showcased in architecture porn magazines.

That isn't meant as a demeaning shot at Chrysalis, because what director Leclercq also accomplishes is making use of and incorporating architecture and set decor as a secondary character. There's nothing worse than seeing glimpses of beautiful sets and buildings without getting a sense of what it's like inside, and perhaps because of the film's modest budget, no corner or pane of glass is wasted.

And the sets are quite stunning for their efficiency, modesty, and clean design, which never come off as pretentious. One can believe these are the kind of edifices that would be built in Paris, while the most beloved old buildings and bridges are left alone.

The only area where perhaps things a bit too far-fetched is an operation scene wherein a doctor (played by Marthe Keller) uses a hologram to guide robots to fix a young child's busted up heart. Maybe this comes from watching too many medical dramas over a decade or two, but like any artisan, even doctors must like feeling real organs, and while non-invasive surgery is the ultimate goal, I'm sure once in a while human hands can do a better job simply because some things involve getting a feel for what's right instead of what look right through a digital peephole.

Minor digression in what's an approving nod to Leclercq. Really.



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