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With its clash of grief and comedy, cynical commerce and common sense, the opening moments of "Les combattants" ("Love at First Fight") set the tone for the rest of the picture. One of several recent European movies to alight upon our 21st-century dystopia, writer-director Thomas Cailley's feature uses this melange of thieving consumer capitalism, corrupt politics and environmental catastrophe as the canvas for a survivalist romantic comedy. Level-headedness runs in the Labrede family, so after absorbing his father's death, Arnaud informs his mum and brother he's happy to forego college to help Manu expand the carpentry business.Pragmatic in her own way, Madeleine tells Arnaud's family she holds an MA in macroeconomic modeling, designed to help forecast, and prepare for, future events. Arriving at Madeleine's to work on her parents' shed, Arnaud finds Madeleine watching a ferret in the swimming pool, struggling to remain afloat.While in the French wild, Madeleine finds Arnaud sticking pine needles into the sand, and asks what he's doing.
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