New Orleans, Mon Amour



South by Southwest

AUSTIN -- Part allegory, part time capsule, Michael Almereyda's "New Orleans, Mon Amour" is heartfelt but in some ways as flimsy as a FEMA trailer. High-def production values and an experimental aesthetic limit its potential to small art house runs at best, with straight-to-video more likely.

Shot mostly in summer 2006, the thin story offers a pair of ex-lovers who, unsurprisingly given that their surnames are Jekyll (Christopher Eccleston) and Hyde (Elisabeth Moss), were disastrous together during their relationship's first spin. Now he's a doctor trying to tolerate reintegration into New Orleans' society scene, and she's volunteering with a group of anti-establishment do-gooders.

The couple's reconnection affords a scene or two of soul-searching pillow talk about Katrina (making some sense of the title's allusion to "Hiroshima Mon Amour") and supplies some apt metaphors of wreckage and reconstruction. But the movie's nature -- with its improvised-sounding dialogue and sometimes clumsy camerawork, feels more like a sketch than a feature -- suggests it's as much of an excuse to tour through recent devastation as it is a piece of storytelling, following bicycling protagonists as they survey uprooted trees and desolate neighborhoods.

With other filmmakers having done strong work in that department already, "New Orleans, Mon Amour's" tentative stabs at poetry aren't very compelling.

Voodoo Production Services, New Orleans Mon Amour
Director: Michael Almereyda
Screenwriters: Michael Almereyda, Katya Apekina, James Robison
Producers: Edith Le Blanc, Michael Arata
Executive producers: Benjy Caplan, Jerry Daigle, Emanuel Michael
Director of photography: Andrew Wonder
Production designer: Mara LePere-Schloop
Music: T. Griffin
Costume designer: Dana Embree
Editor: Rachel Webster
Dr. Jekyll: Christopher Eccleston
Hyde: Elisabeth Moss
Emerson: Barlow Jacobs
Himself: Andre Williams
Running time -- 78 minutes
No MPAA rating