CQ [2001]

Jeremy Davies is a different kind of American in Paris. In the heady days of 1969, this aspiring director edits a silly sci-fi spy adventure by day while spending his nights obsessively filming his own life, much to the frustration of his stewardess girlfriend (Elodie Bouchez), who tires of his using his camera to avoid intimacy. First-time director Roman Coppola (son of Francis) creates a slight but fun picture steeped in 1960s movie lore: the film-within-a-film is a pop-art spectacle that recalls Barbarella, Modesty Blaise, and Danger: Diabolique, while its Italian producer (Giancarlo Giannini) is a high-living Dino De Laurentiis. If the film is slight, the details are right, from the opulent and outrageous sets to the meticulously retro special effects to the groovy music by Mellow. You could think of CQ as Coppola's 8½, about a man so busy filming his life he forgets to live. --Sean Axmaker

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