Ostensible puppet master is an affable white-haired gentleman named Joseph Paskin casually approaches the sullen Pierre Blum outside a French casino. Joseph pretends not to recognize the 40... See full summary »
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A series of 8 short films. Each film was inspired by an Edward Hopper painting. The series has been commissioned by Arte France and produced by Didier Jacob, En Haut des Marches. The 8 ... See full summary »
The fact that it is a deeply personal film is both a strength and a weakness
It took me a second viewing to really get a grip on this film. On the first time it appears that maybe the central character is cheating on a girlfriend as he has calls and texts he picks up and immediately leaves her company; he seems distant from her and a bit remote. The end of the film and the photo of the director's father adds a lot more context to this but does it in a subtle (ie not obvious) way. I did have to do some reading on the short to know who the photo was and learn that the director lost his own father to cancer and I guess that this is a weakness of the film that it is personal to the point where it may not mean a great deal to the casual viewer.
This personal thing is also a strength though because we focus on basically the son in the situation and we see him not go through hand- holding melodrama or tearful farewells but rather avoiding dealing with it, hiding away from his girlfriend when talking about it so as to avoid it being real or something he has to talk about. This focus and this realistic content is engaging although at the same time hard to penetrate unless you know what it is about, which is why I see the film as its own worst enemy. The short film genre (if it can be called such) does rather have a target audience accustomed to being drawn in and delivered to within a short period, so having a film where most of it works better when viewed in a context that only comes on a second viewing is not a big plus.
It looks great though and its honestly and realism is there in the selection and delivery of scenes. Corbet is very good (on second viewing) as he sells the character in a way that works on film but is also connected to the real world few of us have lives filled with Oscar clips, we are generally more silent and awkward about stuff. He fits with the vision of Renzi and produces a short film which works because it is so personal, honest and real but at the same time has its limits for precisely the same reasons. It is well worth watching, but be warned that you will need to watch it twice.
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