The Comfort of Strangers
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1 item from 2016


Berlin Film Review: ‘While the Women Are Sleeping’

16 February 2016 6:19 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

For a psychothriller on sexual obsession and voyeurism, “While the Women Are Sleeping” comes off as glacial and antiseptic, like “Rear Window” without murder, or “Lolita” without violation. Exploring a creatively blocked novelist’s descent into neurosis after he meets and begins stalking an older man and his teenage squeeze at a Japanese seaside hotel, the film is tinged with Freudian mumbo-jumbo and recycled meta-fictive tropes, and Chinese-American helmer Wayne Wang’s stylishly glum aesthetics and mechanical plotting never get under the characters’ skin — or their sheets — leaving the story’s kinkiness an under-explored domain. The pic boasts festival cachet thanks to its arthouse-friendly leads, Takeshi Kitano and Hidetoshi Nishijima (fresh from their partnership in “Mozu the Movie”), though mainstream domestic response looks drowsy.

The film is adapted from a short story by Spanish writer Javier Marias, exploring a middle-aged man’s ritual of taping his young lover while she »

- Maggie Lee

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