Sophia Antipolis ★★½

The Wikipedia entry for the area that gives this film its title states that in its urban planning, the “concept was that bringing together people from different intellectual horizons and ‘making’ them meet, would bring added value and generate innovation.” One can reasonably guess how this setting will be treated by the average European art film, and in this case one would be right. The second film from director Virgil Vernier, Sophia Antipolis predictably sees people trying to stave off urban ennui via new age mysticism, breast implants, vigilantism, and, always, the sea, which promises more than this supposedly utopian setting could provide. As these things go, this adds little to our understanding, yet it’s accomplished enough. Vernier has a steady hand that only subtly warps realism and his La Ronde-style narrative enables the filmmaker, who has delivered several acclaimed shorts already in his fledgling career, to play to his strengths by stringing together a series of separate mini-narratives.