The Ultimate Act
The Ultimate Act is a short-length film that deals with a unique and provoking subject. It provides a genuine portrait of a middle-aged French farmer with the intention to discuss the suicide rate among farmers. This statistical fact should be presented to the broad demographics.
In almost thirty minutes of running time, the filmmaker Bernard Assako, who is signed as the film’s auteur, offers thought-provoking elements that provide the narrative with turns and twists. Although The Ultimate Act opens as a heavy-handed drama portraying rural living, it quickly takes us to Paris and begins unravelling an unconventional love story.
Assako is interested in contrasts and dynamics; the scenes in Paris are naturally louder and vibrant, even those that take place inside. In addition, the juxtaposition of visual components paints almost every frame. The protagonist is a voyeur who observes a young woman on the streets. Interestingly enough, the stranger who is first depicted through the farmer's point of view would develop a steady arc and eventually become the protagonist. These creative decisions screenplay-wise give the film a new dimension.
It's not common for a short film to approach the plot and characters from various perspectives. With this challenging concept, the filmmaker convinces us that they are able to break the rules because they know every single beat from the structural sheet. Therefore, for the whole second part, the audience becomes distant from the peasant and sticks to the lonely woman who doesn’t have the slightest idea of what to expect next.
The Ultimate Act has a suggestive title that's discreet at the same time. Whose act would be more dreadful? The farmer, who is a virgin, believes that the woman rejecting him is more tragic than his act of killing. On the other hand, the woman's self-destruction path begins when she finds out her colleague is dead. In-between the plotline traits, Assako explores Freudian concepts of psychoanalysis. Suddenly, the protagonist transforms into an antagonist. Ironically enough, his epilogue is poignantly poetic.
Besides the storytelling’s strengths, it’s essential to note the impressive work done with the cinematography, sound design and actors. Assuming Bernard Assako’s genuine work in pre-production, the end results showcase that they've exploited the best out of the cast's performance. Moreover, the camera implements film language and theory elements, which helped the editing seem smooth and unobtrusive.
In conclusion, The Ultimate Arc (L’acte Ultime) is a film that the audience should watch several times to experience the most sophisticated nuances. It is unpredictable hence engaging until the very last minute, ending in the most climactic way possible.