Don't Forget You're Going to Die

on September 10, 1995 by Ed Scheid
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   An art history student named Benoit (director/co-writer Xavier Beauvois) is desperate to avoid the military service that would postpone his career, so he fakes a suicide attempt. A resulting blood test, though, reveals he is HIV-positive. Benoit confronts his impending early death by living as intensely as possible including involvement in drug smuggling and three-way homosexuality. On a trip to Italy, he has an idyllic love affair with a young woman (Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni).
   Beauvois provides an unflinching look at the pain of a life thrown into turmoil, but the different sequences don't always fit. The Italian romance is the most successful part, because it's here that the character of Benoit most connects on a human level and the impending loss is most deeply felt. But the final scenes when Benoit self-destructively fights in Bosnia seem forced and inconsistent with his character.    Starring Xavier Beauvois and Chiara Mastroianni. Directed by Xavier Beauvois. Written by Xavier Beauvois, Anne-Marie Sauzeau, Emmanuel Salinger and Zoubir Tilgul. Produced by Why Not Prods; no distributor set. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 118 min.
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