Written and directed by Roman Coppola, son of Francis and brother of Sofia, CQ is the kind of film that someone who’s been hanging around movie sets for a long time might come up with. Though it’s his debut, Coppola, in his late 30s, ain’t no kid.
Set in Paris in 1969, its protagonist, a young American and aspiring filmmaker named Paul (Jeremy Davis), has landed a gig as editor and second-unit director on a ludicrous French-Italian co-production called Dragonfly. It’s the sort of crazed, mod confection that movie buffs may remember fondly, a combination of Barbarella and Modesty Blaise, with a super-sexy femme super agent battling rebel forces on the moon. While not working on this psychedelic slice of cinemafantastique, Paul is cobbling together his own feature, a dreadfully pretentious film diary of his uneventful home life with his girlfriend, Marlene (Elodie Bouchez).
When Dragonfly’s director, the volatile Andrzej (Gérard Depardieu), is fired from the project, its flamboyant producer, Enzo di Martini (Giancarlo Giannini), hires hotshot young director Felix de Marco (Jason Schwartzmann), who promptly gets into a car accident, leaving Paul as the only available person to direct. But someone is sabotaging the film and Paul, whose relationship with Marlene is deteriorating, must try to hold things together while trying to come up with the boffo ending he’s promised the producer.
CQ is determinedly light fare and the characters are never developed beyond their invisible name tags — “Volatile,” “Hotshot,” etc. But the scenes from Dragonfly, the movie within the movie, are priceless, not so much as satire but as a loving re-creation of a certain brand of Euro-camp, while the surrounding story is spiced with Godard-Fellini-Antonioni references. It doesn’t add up to much, but it’s exceedingly pleasant, a good summer movie for people who don’t much care for summer movies.
Opens Friday exclusively at the Main Art Theatre (118 N. Main, Royal Oak). Call 248-542-0180.
Richard C. Walls writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail him at email@example.com.