“Poissonsexe”, drifting feelings

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What does the beginning of the end of the world look like? Perhaps the glassy eye of a whale breathing out its last gasp. Or two male and female fish (let’s call them Adam and Eve) looking at each other like faience dogs in a jar, too depressed to copulate. We are in a world where 80% of animal species have disappeared, and Poissonsexe opens onto a French coast ravaged by plastic pollution, where biologists are bent on excavating the reefs, despairing of locating any species with scales.

The extinction of marine life resonates with that which seems to be watching the inhabitants of this town with a declining fertility rate, struck by the same emotional shortage and obsessed with reproduction. Night and day, their gaze is riveted on the haggard drift of the last whale on Earth, tracked by satellite and transcribed in real time on television.

A fable of anticipation with a feather budget and romance without libido, Olivier Babinet’s film describes a near present decked out in robotic gizmos, whose axis is essentially poetic. It’s a sad ballad for gametes in a carafe, an amniotic reverie of which we love all ideas, especially the one that wants hope to take the form of a salamander fish in the shape of a penis.

We regret, however, that Olivier Babinet did not further refine the surrealism of this test-tube fantasy, where mockery walks without tone, as if cut off under the influence of his neurasthenic characters. It’s Gustave Kervern as a celibate scientist dreaming of fatherhood, who is desperately looking for a soul of childbearing age, and India Hair as a mermaid-haired cashier, reader of Nietzsche. Two weakly written silhouettes but which impart a numb grace to the film, and to its final nagging conflict: to perpetuate the species at all costs to repopulate the world to come, however bleak it may be, or to be satisfied with finding someone with whom endure this one.


Sandra Onana

Poissonsexe d’Olivier Babinet with Gustave Kervern, India Hair, Ellen Dorrit Petersen… 1 h 29.

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