|Index||4 reviews in total|
Amos Kollek must be crazy. "Fiona" is a film not only about prostitutes
and crack addicts. It was an entire supporting cast of the real deal.
Not just extras, several of the main characters are actual prostitutes
and crack addicts with much of the film shot in a NYC crack house /
crash pad. This is about as heavy duty as you can get without it being
a documentary. Actually, this is beyond documentary because Kollek is
no quiet observer. He's in there as a director working closely with the
drug addicts and prostitutes. It's Dogma taken in a weird, dangerous
and, inadvertently, titillating direction.
The story follows a young woman, Fiona (Anna Thomson) from her recollections of being sexually abused in a foster home to her adventures on the streets. The plot turns Oedipal as we meet her mother, who is a much more weathered prostitute working the same streets. Eventually, their paths meet and our streetwise Ophelia finally transcends her destiny by taking control of it.
Yeah, it's a simple plot. But the plot is really just a hanger with which a series of vignettes, both shocking and touching, are draped. Kollek's previous film, "Sue" (which also starred Anna Thomson), let him wear his influences on his sleeve as it clearly brings Cassavettes to mind. "Fiona" lets him take it to it's logical extent which, while most people will remember the grim moments, also allowed for some very real moments unlike anything you'll see at the multi-plex.
Director Amos Kollek's jittery, hand-held camera acts as a window into a
world of despair and hopelessness and for nearly 90 minutes we get to peer
in. Oh joy!
The film opens with a prostitute discarding her crying baby in an alleyway. It is the life of that orphaned girl, Fiona (Levine), that is chronicled in this Amos Kollek film.
The film jumps ahead a number of years and we see Fiona as she is now. A deep thinking, psychotic, drug addicted, prostitute who spends the majority of her time shooting heroin and hanging around with her lesbian lover. Then, in a completely contrived sequence, obviously inserted to advance the plot, Fiona shoots and kills three police officers in a diner. She takes refuge in a crackhouse and continues her downward spiral into hell.
I'm not sure what Kollek was trying to say with this film. It was as if he was trying to shock the audience with the spectacle of street life and those who dwell there. Visually, the film is jarring, it has a very authentic look and feel to it and Anna Levine offers an inspiring performance. But the film as a whole the film has very little redeeming qualities, including the character of Fiona who at first is likeable and sympathetic until she kills three police officers and brushes it off with a shrug of her shoulders. After that, I couldn't have cared less about her, her problems and the problems of those around her. Along with all the disconcerting images that the film throws at the viewer, the sequence where the mother and daughter reunite has to be the most awkward and disturbing of the film.
Watch it for the spectacle. You may come away from the film better educated about the lives of street people or maybe you'll just come away feeling empty. I did!
Although there were a few pleasantly surprising moments, this is basically just a typical film about a drug user/prostitute. Despite some scenes that were fairly original, the picture that is painted in this film is a very familiar one. In other words, most of the characters in this movie have serious problems, and many of the usual events that you might expect to take place do eventually occur. Poor sound also hurts the film from time-to-time, but the low-budget look of the movie does suit the story well. It's an adequate way to kill some time, but don't expect much entertainment.
Such a frustrating movie. On one hand it it full of brilliantly unguardedly "real" almost voyeuristic moments, very similar to Paul Morrisey's trilogy for Andy Warhol (both in content and style), yet at the same time the filmmakers seemed to somehow feel the need to add a few totally unnecessary contrived "plot" scenes that not only feel awkward and contrived within the context of this otherwise free-form, pseudo-documentary film, but which don't even add up to anything anyway. The vast majority of this film works great as a simple, matter-of-fact "day in the life of a drug-addicted prostitute", so I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish with these laughably superficial, tacked-on scenes such as when the main character kills some policemen (with no repercussions or otherwise relevance to the film) and a whole lukewarm subplot involving the inevitable reunion between her and her mother who abandoned her as an infant. Not to mention the strange ending which seemed to have been filmed simply to give the film "an ending" in the conventional sense when it was really unnecessary. Otherwise this film is great in that it shows real prostitutes and real junkies doing their thing in a totally objective context, and captures some great true moments in the process.
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