Don't Forget You're Going to Die ★★★½

1995 Cannes Film Festival (In Competition)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to periodically change your life irrevocably, without regard for your well-being or conception of self? That’s close to the premise of this distinctive film, which goes one step further and makes its protagonist altogether opaque and impassive. Benoit is revealed exclusively through his actions, and even then his only agency is his chosen lack thereof. The film progresses in a highly elliptical fashion, habitually cutting to Benoit suddenly in a new location doing something different with little indication of what transpired. Beauvois isn’t going for the impressionism of Denis or the lacerating character shifts of Pialat, but rather an aesthetic that evokes the great potential of life and our even greater potential to waste it. Although the film would benefit from additional rigor, its disjunctive rhythm is singular and compellingly elusive.