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Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 26th, 2020, 4:12 pm
by Cocoa
Film of the Week #343: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996)

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Summary:
Paul Dedalus is at a crossroads in his life. He has to make several decisions: should he complete his doctorate; does he want to become a full professor; does he really love his long-standing girlfriend or should he restart with one of his other lovers? Is he avoiding the despairing life his father can't escape from?


#193 on 500<400, with 252 checks.
Nominated by Cocoa, Minkin, and Traveller.
On IMDb
On iCM

From the 500<400 resultsShow
#193(⇧28, #221) Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) (1996)
[My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument]

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Directed by: Arnaud Desplechin
(417.23 Pts, 8 Votes) , Top 1–10–50: 1–2–4
History: 1932214259651188NA←NA
ICheckMovies: 247 Checks , 17 Favourites , 4 Official lists
List of Voters:Show
hurluberlu (1)
clemmetarey (7)
outdoorcats (14)
Cinephage (25)
jeff_v (67)
toromash (115)
mathiasa (172)
xianjiro (629)

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Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 29th, 2020, 5:40 pm
by outdoorcats
I watched this one in theaters in a re-release that played at my local film festival along with it's "prequel" (...sort of), My Golden Days in 2015. It was a confusing experience watching My Golden Days and then this, because while many of the characters share the same names (and in Paul's case, the same actor playing him as an adult), My Golden Days is not a prequel, but more of a parallel universe take on the same characters. Like Desplechin loved the characters so much that he wanted to go back and do a different take on their life stories. It's honestly best to watch both films as separate entities.

Desplechin is what many would call an indulgent filmmaker, what others would call an auteur; How I Got Into An Argument is him at maybe his most "indulgent"/auteuristic/whatever. It's a sprawling, novelistic, 3-hour late-coming-of-age story about the romantic lives of various academics. It's precisely Desplechin's indulgences which make the film compelling; what could be another generic French middle class sex comedy explodes with anarchic energy, charging down tangential storylines, digging into the psychology of his characters and abandoning even the slightest hint of traditional story structure. This was where Desplechin learned to make films which seem "messy" during the process of watching them (likely due to the aforementioned lack of traditional structure) but in careful reflection are actually acutely planned journeys. It's a "magic trick" quality I associate with many of my favorite directors (for example, Paul Thomas Anderson).

Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 30th, 2020, 7:21 am
by cinewest
outdoorcats wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 5:40 pm
I watched this one in theaters in a re-release that played at my local film festival along with it's "prequel" (...sort of), My Golden Days in 2015. It was a confusing experience watching My Golden Days and then this, because while many of the characters share the same names (and in Paul's case, the same actor playing him as an adult), My Golden Days is not a prequel, but more of a parallel universe take on the same characters. Like Desplechin loved the characters so much that he wanted to go back and do a different take on their life stories. It's honestly best to watch both films as separate entities.

Desplechin is what many would call an indulgent filmmaker, what others would call an auteur; How I Got Into An Argument is him at maybe his most "indulgent"/auteuristic/whatever. It's a sprawling, novelistic, 3-hour late-coming-of-age story about the romantic lives of various academics. It's precisely Desplechin's indulgences which make the film compelling; what could be another generic French middle class sex comedy explodes with anarchic energy, charging down tangential storylines, digging into the psychology of his characters and abandoning even the slightest hint of traditional story structure. This was where Desplechin learned to make films which seem "messy" during the process of watching them (likely due to the aforementioned lack of traditional structure) but in careful reflection are actually acutely planned journeys. It's a "magic trick" quality I associate with many of my favorite directors (for example, Paul Thomas Anderson).
I haven't seen this one yet, but your description of Desplechin's films are exactly the way I experience them: Very "messy" but "indulgent" stories (even some times even involving a contrast of styles) that get better and better the more you indulge them. Kings and Queen was the first one of his that I saw ( about 15 years ago), and I remember coming out of the theater thinking with both parts of my brain in conflict about it, until I just finally gave in because it was ultimately so rich. Felt similar about My Golden Days. His best (the least messy, any ways) might be A Christmas Story, but at the same time I don't think all of his films overcome their problematic issues (like Jimmy P, for example), and I haven't seen the last 2, which got very mixed reviews.

Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 31st, 2020, 9:51 am
by outdoorcats
Jimmy P is one of my favorite Desplechin films and in my top 20 for the 2010s. Perhaps I am a little biased because it covers so many topics related to behavioral health - sociology, developmental life stages, the 'whole person' approach, boundaries and ethics in human services - but I found the story to be both fascinating and deeply moving.

As for his last two, I have seen 1, Ismael's Ghosts, and it's another of my favorites of the decade, but I should warn anyone it's in competition for his messiest and most "indulgent." Also, for the first hour or so I was convinced I wasn't going to like it, but in a rare example of me changing my opinion halfway through the film, I did a complete face after the film...went completely off the rails?? Look, I don't know how to explain it well, but somehow the film devolving from a straightforward melodrama into a surreal, deliberately incomprehensible mess made it 1000% better. (It helps, I guess, that at that point it makes a certain sense for the film to not make sense, if that makes sense) By the end I was blown away by the film's sheer creativity, power, and, even at its messiest, close adherence to its central themes. [the version I saw was the 'Director's Cut']

His latest is apparently a straightforward crime drama/mystery. I don't know about that. I'll give it a shot eventually.

Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 31st, 2020, 10:07 am
by Fergenaprido
outdoorcats wrote:
July 29th, 2020, 5:40 pm
I watched this one in theaters in a re-release that played at my local film festival along with it's "prequel" (...sort of), My Golden Days in 2015. It was a confusing experience watching My Golden Days and then this, because while many of the characters share the same names (and in Paul's case, the same actor playing him as an adult), My Golden Days is not a prequel, but more of a parallel universe take on the same characters. Like Desplechin loved the characters so much that he wanted to go back and do a different take on their life stories. It's honestly best to watch both films as separate entities.

Desplechin is what many would call an indulgent filmmaker, what others would call an auteur; How I Got Into An Argument is him at maybe his most "indulgent"/auteuristic/whatever. It's a sprawling, novelistic, 3-hour late-coming-of-age story about the romantic lives of various academics. It's precisely Desplechin's indulgences which make the film compelling; what could be another generic French middle class sex comedy explodes with anarchic energy, charging down tangential storylines, digging into the psychology of his characters and abandoning even the slightest hint of traditional story structure. This was where Desplechin learned to make films which seem "messy" during the process of watching them (likely due to the aforementioned lack of traditional structure) but in careful reflection are actually acutely planned journeys. It's a "magic trick" quality I associate with many of my favorite directors (for example, Paul Thomas Anderson).
So if I didn't like My Golden Days, what is the likelihood that I would enjoy My Sex Life?

Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 31st, 2020, 4:12 pm
by outdoorcats
Not sure. They are pretty different (My Sex Life is much talkier and less polished, for instance), so it depends what specifically you didn't like about My Golden Days.

Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: July 31st, 2020, 8:15 pm
by Traveller
Never really got into it and because of that I found it rather tiresome than interesting. Had to pause it two times as well for it being exhausting. Might have to rewatch it on better day again.

Re: Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) AKA My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument (1996) FotW #343

Posted: August 2nd, 2020, 4:25 pm
by Cocoa
Reading the summary from IMDb before I watched the film made me thought the characters were going to be much older than they are :lol: I liked the film. The middle of the film doesn't feel as strong/interesting as the beginning or the end and the monkey subplot was weird, but overall nice film.