Berlinale: News from Planet Mars ( Des nouvelles de la planète Mars )

News from Planet Mars (Des nouvelles de la planète Mars)

Directed by Dominik Moll
Starring François Damiens, Vincent Macaigne, Veerle Baetens, Jeanne Guittet and Tom Rivoire

by Malin Arvidsson

Philippe Mars is a nice guy. Maybe too nice. And even though he tries to put down his foot sometimes, people don’t seem to care, they expect him to help out. His ex-wife drops off the kids in the middle of the night to go on a last minute job abroad even though she’s only had them for two days. His sister wants him to look after her dog for a week and doesn’t take no for an answer. His boss wants him to work on a second project even though he only has time for one. And one night, his ex-colleague, who’s just thrown a knife in his direction the day before, calls him from outside his house and says he’s just escaped from the psychiatric clinic and wants to stay at his for a couple of nights.

Even though Philippe’s situation escalates to something that is worse than normal, I’m sure I’m not the only one who can identify with how he’s trying to please everyone and do everything right.  But one thing after another goes wrong and in the end, there’s just that last drop that breaks you.

Dominik Moll has managed to capture these difficult day to day moments with a great sense of humor, and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments throughout the film. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was when Philippe was having dialogue with his dead parents. I felt that it was an unnecessary element that made the film a little bit too unreal and less empathetic.


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