Now here's a film that takes a little warming up to -- to be honest I actively disliked it for a little while -- but it actually pays some solid dividends to the dedicated viewer. That's not to say that Delphine Krueter's 57,000 Kilometers Between Us is an overlong or notably "difficult" piece to get through, but sometimes you just have to take Act I on faith that you'll be rewarded with something special. Perhaps best described as an Altman-ish black comedy about the ways in which we now communicate (sometimes exclusively) through video screens -- and how sometimes the "impersonal" communications are more meaningful than the "up close and personal" ones -- 57km is alternately smart, sad, sexy, and rather ironically amusing.

Though the film initially skips around in an episodic (some could say scattershot) fashion, once Kreueter has her characters laid down and her premise established, she starts slowly drawing the disparate characters closer together. What at first seems like a barely connected series of bleak domestic situations slowly becomes a cohesive whole. (Sorta.) Our main characters seem to be Margot (the excellent Florence Thomassin), her Internet-addicted daughter Nat (Marie Burgun), and her camera-obsessed husband Michel (Pascal Bongard) -- although almost equal attention is paid to married couple Khaled (Mohamed Rouabhi) and Nicole (Stephanie Michelini). (How it is that these families "connect" is both surprising and unexpectedly fascinating.)