Love without memory, and baggage – “Novo” [2002 France, Spain]

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Jean-Pierre Limosin appears initially to have stumbled upon something original in his romantic drama “Novo”, but I don’t think he’s successfully brought it to fruition. The film will rightly be remembered for featuring copious nudity from Eduardo Noriega and Anna Mouglalis, but it could have been a lot more.

Graham, formerly Pablo (Eduardo Noriega), has a strange case of selective amnesia that prevents him from remembering his wife and child, but allows him to turn up at work regularly as part of an elaborate therapy, and where he can remember his duties well enough to remain employable. It is of course, also helped by his availability as a convenient sex toy for attractive employer Sabine (Nathalie Richard). Otherwise, Graham gets by with the help of a scrap book pinned to his sleeve, which he uses to note down events and persons that matter to him on a daily-basis. His son Antoine (Lény Bueno) follows him around, even if Graham doesn’t quite recognise him. His wife Isabelle (Paz Vega) doesn’t, but feels guilty as it is for having started a relationship with Graham’s best friend Fred (Éric Caravaca) on the back of his illness.

It’s around this time that Irène (Anna Mouglalis) joins his company as a temporary secretary. She falls in love with his eccentric behaviour and good looks before learning about his illness. For a while, she relishes the idea of being with someone who can’t remember the day before – there are no past mistakes to forgive or ask forgiveness for, every day comes with a courting ritual, and making love to him is like doing it for the first time – without the habits or patterns of a steady lover. Surely she could never grow tired of him, at least sexually. But human relationships have the propensity to complicate matters, more so when every one around Graham are working with their own agenda – some want him cured, while others wish he’d rather stay this way.

And that is when the film looses its focus, darting in and out of various themes – some surreal even, with neither being interpreted with clarity or purpose. An example is the episode concerning a fallen tooth – it takes Graham to a derelict seaside town, but we’re left clueless as to its relevance to the film. It’s as if around the halfway mark, the director had either decided to chop off scenes, only to insert in its place irrelevant details and confuse the viewer, or was simply in a hurry to wash his hands off the project. The film, I’m afraid, is mainly for those wishing to watch Eduardo Noriega or Anna Mouglalis for their own sake, and not particularly for their redoubtable acting skills either. Other talented actresses like Paz Vega and Julie Gayet too are underused – not necessarily from a nudity perspective, but of course, that as well.

Amazon DVD Link [NTSC]
This is my recommended release (the same copy as mine) at the time of posting.

 

The Nudity: Anna Mouglalis and Eduardo Noriega
The raison d’être for the film’s existence, is the copious frontal nudity from both the attractive leads. They are, of course, easy to watch, but I think the scenes could have been put together more creatively.

Anna Mouglalis, Eduardo Noriega, and Paz Vega nude in Novo

The opportunity to see Anna Mouglalis and Eduardo Noriega expose themselves in favourable light is among the few valid reasons to own a copy of the French drama “Novo”.

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