To the images of Guy Maddin, Isabella Rossellini plays multiple characters to reflect on the work of her father, filmmaker Roberto Rossellini. Now let me just say that I have no issue with the subject of Roberto Rossellini and indeed at times even this look at it delivered glimmers that made me want to find out more, problem is that they were only glimmers. What the rest of the film does is labour heavily in pretension, bad acting, bad scripts and nothing in the way of image or substance to make it worth seeing.
The narrative is essentially a couple of dialogue scenes that discuss the man, the film industry and his films but all these dialogue scenes are held with Rossellini in all of the different roles (apart from the physical role of her father's belly). Saying it like this makes it sound like it might be OK but trust me that it is not. Most of the dialogue is terrible and it is not helped by the fact that for the majority of her performances Rossellini is terrible really terrible. Ironically the only parts of it that works are those that are essentially Isabella delivering to-camera like she is being interviewed; why she didn't just do a film where she did talk to camera about her father and intersperse it with other comments and clips of relevance I'm not sure.
Perhaps she wanted something more creative in honour of her father and perhaps this is why her friend Maddin directed. Now unlike many I do mostly like the work of Guy Maddin weird it may be but it is wonderful at the same time. Here though he seems to do nothing anywhere close to the creativity of his other films that I have seen in fact if I hadn't seen his name on the credits then I would never have guessed it was one of his. Given how weird his films tend to be perhaps it was Isabella's crass and obvious dialogue scenes that sucked the creativity energy out of him how can one be imaginative when your actor is saying such obvious drivel? Clearly this is a very personal film to Isabella Rossellini and I can only hope that she can look at it with pride that it does for her everything that she wanted. However for me all I got was the impression of a film made too heavily by a writer too close to the subject and a director seemingly happy to let her have her way. Poor and very disappointing for anyone expecting this to be a "Guy Maddin film" because it really is not.
0 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?