This near-silent black and white film from Argentina tells the story of a city that has lost its voice, stolen by Mr. TV, and the attempts of a small family to win the voice back. Similar in design to early German expressionist films.
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Jim is a shy, withdrawn loner, pervert, and virgin. Lana is a friendly and outgoing born again Christian who has renounced her promiscuous drug filled past. They have never met until they step into an elevator together one day. The elevator gets stuck between floors, and they start to get to know each other. A building maintenance man assures them over the elevator's emergency intercom that an elevator repairman is on the way to let them back into their lives. Hours, days, weeks, and months pass, and no repairmen ever show up. Jim and Lana spend their days screaming into the intercom trying to get the maintenance guy to answer again. He doesn't. Starvation is not a problem for them, as Lana entered the elevator with a bag full of groceries which is mysteriously found to be filled with fresh food every morning. After enough time passes, Jim gives up hope of escape and resigns himself to building a new life in the elevator with who he sees as his first girlfriend. Lana on the other hand... Written by
This film is amazing! I see everyone talking about Tetsuo and Eraserhead, but I see more Bunuel (specifically L'Age D'Or) and Fotopolous (Migrating Forms is very similar to this). Not that it matters... this film is truly original, not even in its concept, but more so in how it handles the subject matter. Two people in a room for 90 minutes, talking about their lives -- does that sound interesting to you? Well, it doesn't to me, to be honest, but to actually see this in execution will make you a believer.
It helps that the cast is excellent, all two of them. There is a real chemistry here, and both characters are actually charming, though flawed, and very real -- very human. Both posses a rather dry sense of humor, but I found them both quite hilarious. When one character passionately and sincerely talks about her uncle finding Jesus in his f-f-feces, the other character exclaims "Holy sh*t!" Priceless! It had me rolling.
The film is loaded with "mistakes", but these "errors" don't detract from the viewing experience; in fact, they add to the atmosphere quite a bit and make what could have been an entertaining-enough character-study, into a truly surreal, original, brilliant little film. Sometimes, the audio doesn't match the lips that are moving, sometimes scenes abruptly cut off, there is a constant flicker and "bad" lighting and "bad" framing. But I think this film is highly artistic, and it adds to the atmosphere quite a bit and makes this film highly recommendable. People who complain about its "badness" aren't schooled enough in film to realize that the editing is actually quite brilliant, the pacing is flawless, the writing is pitch-perfect - everything is clearly intentional, even the "mistakes", as randomness has a certain place too. Why would you want to watch something completely clean and complacent? This film wears its non-budget proudly... why else would the title sequence be done in paper and permanent marker (with awful handwriting)? I love this sloppy approach, it really puts this film over the top to me.
What this director does with 2 characters in one room for 90 minutes is more entertaining and thought-provoking than what your average "experimental" Tarkovsky wannabe can do with tons of characters, years of filming, and lots of "perfect" editing.
The best thing about this film really is the pacing. The director/writer doesn't forget that he is telling a story here, and so he adds little surreal touches to keep the film moving along at a good pace. He doesn't offer all his secrets up front; this film really builds, and when it gets there, it's wonderful. You'll cream the first time you hear music, after so long of there being only background hiss.
Fascinatingly gritty, strangely touching, absurdly brilliant, and somehow wonderfully realistic in its depiction of humanity, suffering, religion, and interactions between people. This is a BRILLIANT debut and one of the most exciting underground films I've ever seen... if you're a boring person, you'll be bored by this. But if you're an enlightened person, this will be your new favorite film.
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