C'est La Vie (Ari Aster, 2016, USA)

C'est La Vie is a 2016 short by director Ari Aster. The film opens with a homeless man on an LA street corner, who learn is named Chester Crummings. Chester begins addressing the camera, breaking the fourth wall. Again, Aster is taking the tableau style he took in the short film Basically. This style is reminiscent of the great Swedish director Roy Andersson, albeit on a more limited scale. Like Aster here, Andersson shoots in a tableau style. We see various tableaus of Los Angeles with Chester Crummings. He tells us about his life as a homeless man in Los Angeles. 

Crummings has an aggressive style, yelling entirely at the camera - "Don't think this sh*t can't happen to you!" We learn that Cummings was at one point a successful businessman and married. He also claims that he ran for mayor. It's clear at this point that Crummings is not a reliable narrator. The film takes a narrative turn when we see our narrator in the car with a man, who soon ends up dead with him - we assume he has murdered the man. 

We see Crumming shooting up with a friend in a tent, as he rails against the modern world and technology. However, he now seems to be squatting in someone's house, perhaps the house of the man he murdered. The film begins to quiet down toward the end, with the narrator reflecting on his life and becoming more self-reflective. A little girl approaches him and gives him some change, and he is rendered speechless. C'est La Vie exhibits the same sense of dark humor we have seen in other Aster shorts, and in many ways, it follows a similar structure as Basically, which similarly starts chaotic and then becomes more quiet, introspective, and depressing as the film progresses.



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