by Irma Arkus
On the heels of an entire summer of blockbusters, there are few films worthy of attention, for their elegance as well as their small budgets.
One of these is Eden Log, a French science fiction film, shot, strangely enough, in English, which I am guessing, is an attempt to garner a greater audience for this modest production.
Directed by Franck Vestiel, Eden Log is a unique mix of mystery, adventure, and science-fiction. Curiously, it reads as a cinematic interpretation of your favorite game-play session such as System Shock II, or Quake.
The opening sequence is perhaps the most discouraging and flawed introduction of any film I have ever seen, as flickering lights, heavy breaths and heartbeats introduce a muddied survivor of an attack, Tolbiac. The flickering introduction is frustratingly lengthy, and possibly even dangerous to any epileptic in the audience. I urge you to resist walking away from it, as Tolbiac’s adventure quickly turns into a stylish and immersing adventure.
Tolbiac, played by Clovis Cornillac, has no memory of his identity or prior events. As he finds his way through levels of a mining operation , infested by mutations and security forces, the story of his surroundings is slowly pieced together revealing a curious plant, a society hungry for energy as well as the function and origin of mine labourers.
Eden Log is featured at TIFF 2008, and represents a welcome change of perspective from the current luke-warm US stabs at science fiction films, or for that matter, of those standardized UK low-budget dramas with a promise of a supernatural twist. Eden Log brings something new, a sense of aesthetic, or change in how we interpret games on to the large screen perhaps. Either way, it is a fascinating experience, worthy of your attention.