A family of four lives in the suburbs household. Through a complex interplay of light and mirrors, it's more art installation than a house. The main character is a son in early thirties who...
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A family asks a young psychiatrists to be their guest and look after their father who's developed a suicidal fixation for ropes and knots. It is also entirely possible that the mental health of the guest is the real cause for concern.
A story about a tragic date in the history of the Crimean Tatar nation - 18 of may 1944 -Stalin's deportation of the Crimean Tatars. Main character of the film - a pilot, twice Hero of the ... See full summary »
A family of four lives in the suburbs household. Through a complex interplay of light and mirrors, it's more art installation than a house. The main character is a son in early thirties who almost does not appear on the screen. Suffering from asthma and struggling with dermatitis since his childhood, a man uses his condition to manipulate their parents and sister.
Official Selections and Programs: European Film Festival, 2009; 32nd Goteborg International Film Festival, 2009; 30th Moscow International Film Festival, 2008; 43 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2008; 28th Cambridge Film Festival, 2008; 14th Athens International Film Festival, 2008; 36th La Rochelle International Film Festival, 2008; 9th Seoul International Film Festival, 2008; GoEast - 8th Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, 2008; 17th St.George Bank International Film Festival, 2008; Tallin Black Night International Film Festival, 2008; 25th International Film Festival of Uruguay, 2008; Santa Fe Film Festival, 2008. See more »
Whether or not you enjoy "Las Meninas" I think mainly depends on whether you look for a story, in which case you'll probably end up frustrated, or whether you simply succumb to the slow assault on the senses. Apparently, it is 'about what the routine of everyday life can do to the human mind and psyche. It also reflects on the importance of the choices we make and how limited these choices are in the first place.' But that was lost on me. I also couldn't link much of it to the painting either, though apparently Podolchak was apparently inspired by it. The best way of describing this film is as a surreal take on everyday life.
What I can't deny is that this film is a series of beautiful vignettes. 70% of it is filmed in mirrors, meaning you frequently get a distorted representation of reality. Often, you see what you think is reality then the camera zooms out and pans away, and you realise what you were looking at was a mirror and what you see now is reality. It's a way of messing with your head, turning an ordinary family setting into something unique. Other memorable shots include a bird's eye, but zoomed in, view of the table. The camera, pointing directly downwards, moves around as people eat. Podolchak also has a knack of framing each shot well. The beginning and end of the film take place outside in the garden, providing a welcome respite from the claustrophobia of the house. They are framed in a way that makes them look spontaneous and painterly at the same time.
The soundscape is part of the surrealism too. The music possesses an otherworldly beauty. Podolchak has a particular fascination with the sound of cutlery tapping on plates. Who knows why the characters in this film keep tapping their plates instead of eating. I'm unsure whether this preference for atmosphere over realistic behaviour is a good or bad thing. After all it at least embraces the fact that this is not a realistic film in any sense. Podolchak also seems to associate music with sexual pleasure, for example by intercutting piano playing with a man masturbating, or coupling a woman playing a cello with sexual moans.
There is a disturbing sense in this film that Podolchak sees his human characters as nothing more than objects that are part of his nihilistic art. The camera tends to focus on body parts as if they were objects rather than seeing them as part of the human. Closeups of thighs, fingers, and even a (thankfully, flaccid) penis. The dialogue is mostly general conversation delivered in monotone voices. It almost feels like Podolchak is using the dialogue as a sound effect rather than to reveal information about the "plot" and characters. It's as if everything in this film is there just to contribute to his idea of beautiful art. I can't deny that he has achieved that goal; everything here looks amazIng. But it is unsettling to watch, all the same.
There is an over reliance on mirrors for filming techniques, and a general reliance on strangeness as a replacement for a plot. Seeing these tricks used the fifth time is not nearly as interesting as seeing them for the first time. That comment can go for the film as a whole. For its lack of recognisable story it just doesn't deserve to be this length. As far as I could see, there isn't a plot, and I finished the film with just as much understanding about its subject matter as I had when I started it.
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