Carré blanc follows in the footsteps of some of the great experimental utopian sci-fi, most notably THX 1138. The comparison to that George Lucas film is definitely apt. Carré blanc plays very much like a tonal experiment, with a spare plot, little dialogue, striking imagery and repetitious music and voice over. The film lulls you into a mood of cold horror, and it packs quite a lot of social commentary into a fairly brief running time.
The world of the film is fascinating. Carré blanc shows us a “futue” in which people are constantly committing suicide. Government, corporations and the wealthy control everything and make life for others a living hell. Those higher up fall into horrific sadistic tendencies, playing torture games with their underlings and often beating or killing them.
There is a plot to the film, and in some ways it’s kind of a romance, or at least a look at a troubled marriage. We follow two kids who started with nothing, and as adults, the man is now one of those top level people, torturing others, being a terrible human being. This puts a strain on their marriage, but slowly his wife manages to get through to him, and they end up rebelling against the system.
Carré blanc also has a wonderfully dry sense of humour. There is a lot of talk about croquet being a family sport… and it’s very physical, too. The use of elevator music is annoyingly hilarious. Even some of the darker, more sadistic stuff ends up being quite funny, even if it makes you feel bad to laugh.
All in all, Carré blanc is a kind of sci-fi I very much enjoy. It presents us with a sharply crafted world, defined primarily through great imagery. The story is slight, but is actually quite powerful in conjunction with the rest of the film. And most of all, the mood of it all is oppressive, but endlessly intriguing. Even after the film was over, I was wishing I could spend more time in that world to learn as much as possible about it. That’s a very good sign for this sort of film.