Bored? Suicidal? Tired of feeling cinematographically and intellectually inferior to the Gauls? Don't just sit there and top yourself! Get off your angst-ridden cul and treat the world to your own unique vision of bleakness. By following the simple guidelines below, with no more effort than it takes to skin an escargot you will be able to produce an oeuvre that will purge the merriment from even the most high-spirited of cinema-goers.
1) Plot. Should contain a series of implausible coincidences and wholly arbitrary events designed to fuck up the lives of as many of the main (and minor) characters as possible. The perfect storyline traces the evolution of crisis into despair.
2) Themes. There are four obligatory themes: the futility of existence, the dysfunctional nature of human relationships, mental breakdown, and solitude. Never attempt to introduce others.
3) Characters. The Académie d'Excellence pour la Dépression recommends that all characters should be drawn in adherence to the following principles:
- Children 0-15 – best omitted; where their presence is strictly necessary, they should be the victims of abuse, trauma or atrocity.
- Adults 16-30 – surly; driven by existential uncertainty to seek meaning in beautifully-choreographed sexual encounters with implausible partner(s) (homeless priest, best friend's father/mother/father and mother, etc).
- Adults 30-60 – resigned to absurdity of existence; strive in vain to undo damage caused by disastrous sexual encounters during 16-30 phase.
- Adults 60+ – mad and/or senile as result of joyless, purposeless middle age; in occasional moments of lucidity offer shrewd, sardonic insights into hopelessness of human condition.
4) Humour. Post-modern (i.e. not funny).
- Ça va bien?
- Oui, ça va bien.
- Bien ! C'est bien quand ça va bien.
5) Casting. Essentials are: a male lead who never smiles (ideally, Daniel Auteuil); a ball-achingly beautiful female lead; assorted plain women with page-boy haircuts and refined neuroses; Jean Rochefort + moustache.
6) Soundtrack. Instrumental pieces should be discordant, lyrics pretentious, bizarre and/or unfathomable.