It is not often that I see a film that is so stunning that I find myself at a loss for words. “Bd. Voltaire” affected me such and I have no idea how to review it. Quite basically, “Bd. Voltaire” is about a group of friends that get together for a night of fun on Friday, November 11 just two days before the series of coordinated terrorist attacks that took place on Friday, November 13, 2015 in Paris, France and the city’s northern suburb of Saint Denis. The attackers killed 130 people, and another 368 people were injured.
Directed by Alex Valles with a screenplay by Valles and Andre Schneider, this is a movie about words and we hear a lot of them as the world heads toward a terrible fate. We focus on three couples and how they are affected not only by the attacks but also by the mood of Paris as we move closer to that fateful date. We get to know the characters through what they have to say and there were times I thought I was in the middle of an existential philosophy debate for which there was no end. Yet was is said is important and allows us to get to know the characters better.
The film is shot in beautiful black and white and the images that you see will stay with you forever. With little action, we concentrate of what the cast that includes Bastien Gabriel, Walter Billoni, Rudy Blanchet, Xavier Theoleyre, the already mentioned Schneider and Valles as well as others and this is where I get lost trying to figure out what to say.
Did I love the film? Yes I did for more than one reason. First, the film deals with a difficult topic and as gay people who have experienced homophobia in the past, we need to be aware of the terrorist movement. Secondly, the entire cast is outstanding and we do not get enough movies where each and every character turns in an excellent performance. (If you get a chance to see the National Theater’s filmed production of “Angels in America”, you know what I mean. Thirdly, this is a film that makes you think and stays with you long after you have seen. I doubt I will ever forget the first part that is set in a cemetery as we listen to the conversation between two men separated by years yet find a reason to be together. We see how these characters were affected by a terrorist attack and I believe it is important to remember that no matter where we live and where an attack takes place, we all suffer. The very idea that human life is so expendable is something we need to keep in mind all of the time.
I do not doubt that there will be some who will look t this as an intellectual gay movie because of the amount of dialogue and I suppose it is if we consider thinking to be an intellectual activity. I find it really nice to have a different kind of LGBT movie in that we light up one more color of the rainbow.