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Playing Cat and Mouse
Interview is the latest in the long tradition of films that treat the audience to a verbal match of wits, a psychological joust, often between the only two people in the entire film. Hard Candy is another recent example that comes to mind and I will admit to liking that one more than I did Interview.
For some reason it is very entertaining to watch people manipulate one another on screen, trying to guess what, if anything, is actually true in what is taking place. But in this case I found that I didn't really care that much about these two characters, although I recognize that both Bescemi and Miller put forth admirable acting jobs. In the end they both seemed rather empty and ruthless, not really worth the time they took from my life.
Just last night I watched Sienna Miller in Factory Girl, another portrait of a Beauty Gone Bad, only this time not getting to spiral up and over at the end. Is it only my imagination or has on screen smoking once again become de rigueur for the young chic; Miller smoked up a storm in both films and while it may have been historically accurate for portraying Edie Sedgwick, I could have done without it in Interview. I had hoped that we, as a society, were done subliminally glamorizing that particular self destruction.
Broken English (2007)
This is a better film than many seem to be saying
I will admit that I expected very little from this film due to some of the harsh criticism it received and and not a being a big fan of romance films in general. I nearly didn't see it. However, I was drawn in by the Cassavetes/Rowland connection and I'm glad that I was, enjoying it more than I expected.
It is very much a young woman's film made, in my opinion, by a talented young woman filmmaker whose future work I look forward to seeing. I liked the somewhat meandering look into this likable albeit anxious character played well by Parker Posey. I found myself hoping that she would give up the reflexive crutch of alcohol that she and all those around her seem to over use, maybe as her life becomes more satisfying to her, and I wish Cassavetes had made a stated point about that somewhere in the film. I appreciated the moments of awkward silence with Nora and Julian, showing just how uneasy making a new connection can be. And I think that the pacing was just fine, a bit like life with a few magical cinematic moments thrown in for good measure.
I could also easily imagine Nora choosing not to make contact with Julian in the train after she spots him, having struck out on her own in Paris and perhaps changing her perspective on things, but then that would have been a whole different film....
A Haunting Tale of Comparisions
It is clear to me that I appreciated this film much more than many who have written so I am moved for the first time to add my voice to this wonderful site-
I found the juxtaposition of the photography trip in Armenia with the sequential interviewing back in Canada to be a structural choice that kept my interest, as was the ongoing opportunity to compare the nature of the detached, linear and increasingly controlling photographer (played by Egoyan himself) with the developing flow and connected communication going on between the translator who is blossoming (Arsinee Khanjian, Egoyan's real and cinematic wife) and the self assured yet relaxed driver (Ashot Adamyan). His later decision to foster a child remotely rather than enter into the messiness of actually raising one of his own with his wife also reflects aptly the polarity between his wife and himself.
Viewing the Armenian sites as they are being photographed and then as photographs on the finished calendar as time passes was likewise a satisfying editing choice as far as I'm concerned.
The slow pace of life in Armenia, with its evocative landscapes and holy sites as well as contact with the group of local men who appear to be sharing in music making just for the primal joy of it reveals some of what the translator is being touched by, all that is apparently escaping her husband even as he sees the effect it is obviously having on her.
I found myself increasingly pulled into the film as it went on, which may say something about my own penchant for beautiful and remote places as opposed to the busyness and business of more ordinary Western life.