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João Nuno Pinto
In a desolate and colorless landscape stands a dilapidated bathhouse run by a puffed-up blind man, his long-suffering wife, and their son Anton, who does all the work. He's lonely and unsophisticated, and he falls in love with the beautiful Eva, who comes to bathe with her father. When Eva and her father lose their home, they come to the bathhouse to stay, but bits of the ceiling fall on the old man and he dies. Eva blames Anton, and she seems to seek the arms of the brute Gregor. Can Anton win back her heart, get the bathhouse through a rigorous government inspection, and help keep his parents employed? Waiting out there somewhere is the paradise isle of Tuvalu. Written by
I attended the preview screening of "Tuvalu" for one simple reason - it was the first film of the day and fit into my schedule. Having read a brief synopsis of the film, I went in with mixed expectations - the review snippets lauded the film, but could a two-hour black and white film largely bereft of dialogue really be that entertaining? Please pass the crow...
Set in a dilapidated indoor swimming pool (the Central Baths in Sofia), the film details the efforts of Anton, a clueless dreamer who yearns to sail the world, and Martha, the button obsessed cashier, to maintain the illusion for Anton's blind father that business is thriving. Working to sabotage their efforts is Gregor - Anton's brother - an amoral developer who is determined to raze the entire town and construct a sprawling condominium complex. Gregor engineers an accident that seems certain to doom the business and in the process steals away Eva, the beautiful woman of Anton's dreams. Will Gregor's dastardly plan succeed? It is difficult to categorize this film as it refuses to fit neatly within the confines of any particular genre. Taken on its simplest merits it is a slapstick comedy in the tradition of the Marx Brothers, Chaplin and the Keystone Cops. On this level, alone it will satisfy most viewers. A closer examination reveals a beautiful fairly tale with an innocent dreamer fighting to save his world and loved ones from evil. Finally, there is the none- too -subtle rail against the freight train of modernization, particularly relevant in many areas of post-Communist where vast construction projects are radically altering the cityscapes at the expense of history. However, one need look no further that our own city to see this -only recently have serious efforts been made to safeguard heritage buildings in Vancouver - some fear it may already be too late.
Originally filmed in black and white, the stock was laboriously tinted to give the interior shots take a Sepia tone and the exterior shots a muddy turquoise- grey, providing further contrast for the story elements. The visual experience is further enhanced by masterful cinematography, most notably the underwater sequences, which take on a wondrous ethereal quality. The sound engineers have also created a richly diverse auditory realm that meshes uncannily with the onscreen action. Finally, the exaggerated expressiveness of the actors, both emotive and physical keep the action flowing seamlessly.
If you are in search of an unusual, intriguing film, look no further.
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