Paul (Jeremy Davies) is an ambitious filmmaker living in 1969 Paris, which is hopping with student protests in the spirit of free love and revolution. He is working on futuristic space epic called “Dragonfly” about a female super-agent who must save the world from revolutionaries living on the moon led by Mr. E (Billy Zane). It’s kind of like “Barbarella” in spirit and its production design. The production is as fraught with problems as is Paul’s own personal life. At the moment, “Dragonfly” does not have a satisfying ending and the original director played by Gerard Depardieu has been unceremoniously fired. Paul’s French girlfriend Marlene (Elodie Bouchez) finds Paul too obsessed with his work. His work includes the lead actress of “Dragonfly,” a stunning model and revolutionary named Valentine (Angela Lindvall). Paul’s frustrations about film and fantasies about Valentine culminate in an experimental movie — a filmed personal diary that he makes while working on his big screen epic. When the problem plagued film loses two directors, Paul suddenly goes from editor and second unit photographer to the head seat in the director’s chair even though his soft-spoken demeanor hardly makes him the right choice. Paul must now conquer his personal issues as well as those presented by the story of the unfinished film within a film.
Films about filmmaking are always risky. At the independent level, they almost always fail especially when executed by first-time directors who lack something to really say on the subject. However, in the capable hands of Roman Coppola, “CQ” becomes less a self-reflexive film and more of a documentation of a playful period in cinema. The production design is way over the top with a colorful array of sets made even more sumptuous by the sexy futuristic costumes worn by Valentine. Even the cheesy special effects have the look from that period and the result is stunning.
Now, while I personally love this movie, I’m not sure how well received a film about a frustrated filmmaker seeking creative solutions in his personal life and work life is going to be to the average moviegoer. My guess is, it probably won’t work for the average person. Many jokes about working on movies will fly above their heads and the best is when during a party a person holds a video camera and comments, “This is how we’ll make movies in the future.” Funny s**t. Funny to me, but maybe not for everyone. Hell, I don’t care, you’re either in the category of the type of person who will like this or you’re not. The choice is yours, but anyone pre-disposed to like this type of film will be happy they took the trip.