An unfocused twentysomething (Peter Fenton) moves in with a former co-worker (Sacha Holder), who is suffering from low self-esteem because of her weight, looks, and a case of eczema. Their ... See full summary »
An unfocused twentysomething (Peter Fenton) moves in with a former co-worker (Sacha Holder), who is suffering from low self-esteem because of her weight, looks, and a case of eczema. Their relationship is based on unending drink, drugs, and sex. Curiously, though the two are presented in a tender and humorous light that lets the viewer get involved in concerned about their direction. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Twenty-first century Smurfoid Man does LAST TANGO IN PARIS
Great, thrilling, scarily intimate. In its first half hour, this astonishing Australian feature gets so close to its characters you feel the director is touching your skin. Gordon (Peter Fenton) is a type well known to people in that age between Bill Clinton and the Backstreet Boys: smart, alert, passive, asexual, easily emotionally manipulated. Cynthia (Sacha Horler) is a big girl with a big appetite for beer and the male organ; she needs sex desperately, helplessly, in the way a love-starved puppy races in circles in need of a touch. The movie records the birth pangs, first steps, clunky adolescence, and quick death of a relationship. Like Wong Kar-wai's HAPPY TOGETHER, most of it takes place in a crappy flophouse apartment. That's it--that's the movie. And every detail in it, from the stigmata-like blood flow of Cynthia's eczemous skin, to the fellatio in a milky bathtub, to the reaction of a horny couple to a violent row, is flawless.
The director, John S. Cullen, is all about getting it right, and so he does--to the point where you can find yourself mouthing aloud the dialogue seconds before it happens. This isn't because the movie is cliched; quite the opposite. It's because the movie gets things about falling in and out of love that no one--nobody, not even those who have made the Big Famous Movies About Sex--has hit. PRAISE seems to have had no luck in the theatres; perhaps it will live on in its IFC afterlife. All praise to Strand Releasing, the best distributors of foreign and independent movies in America. If you want to see a non-studio movie on a subject other than a cute boy and his grandpa, or a wily chef who woos all the ladies, you have Strand to thank for your satisfaction.
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