Film Reviews:

Tykho Moon

(Enki Bilal, Fr, 1996)

Julie Delphy stars in this deliberately obscure piece of French arthouse SF from comic book creator and occasional director Enki Bilal. According to Bilal, Tykho Moon is not a genre movie. It is not SF and it is not fantasy but "a film about memory and politics". True, it is a political satire but it is also a genre piece whether Bilal likes to admit it or not.

I was very tired when I caught this film at the annual Fantasm film festival in London which didn't help me decipher the already attention-demanding plot. It is the future and the moon has been colonised. Mac Bee is the dying dictator who attempts to control life there but must have a organ donor if he is to survive. He sends out his henchmen to track down the donor he knows can save him, but the donor goes on the run along with a prostitute (Delphy - who might really be a killer) whom he meets upon the way.

Most of the characters that inhabit this film don't have names and the turgid pace of Bilal's direction was a challenge to my already tired eyes. Despite brief flourishes of imagination (the production design is a Max-Headroom-like retro future that looks something like Paris after a bad hurricane), the overall effect was simply dull as my brief but frequent trips into the land of nod testify. I've not read any of Bilal's comics but from what I can gather from his reputation as such, he must be a better artist than film director.

Rob Dyer