Obselidia (2010) Poster


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A brilliant movie ...
I agree 100% with Todd Mcarthy's review in the Sundance edition of Variety dated 8-14th February 2010. It's now June and this is still the film of the year for me . This movie is eccentric, gentle , intelligent and gorgeously made . It steps outside the box of what is expected from a modern independent film and harks back to the classic European film tradition . The world needs more films like this . Gaynor Howe's performance was outstanding for me and I particularly enjoyed the fact that such a big subject could be tackled within the constraints of a small independent movie . Full credit to the Sundance judges . It's not a fast burn , but it drew me in from the first minute . Bravo to all concerned .
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Loved the best of it a lot...
secondtake17 July 2012
Obselidia (2010)

The wide open desert air, the harsh arid sun, the endless views and expectant lulls. And a young woman and young man meeting and connecting in a way neither of them expected, isolated together, almost giddy with happiness. This is the movie at its best, and it's pure magic. Director Diane Bell's only film (so far) is an improbable indie surprise, beautifully photographed and paced.

Michael Piccinilli plays George, a man who is so withdrawn and bookish, and so utterly retro tapping away at a manual typewriter (and going to the library to use its computer) he's almost unapproachable. But he's completely likable (the actor was voted most eligible man in Australia), and you can understand his cause--celebrating and preserving all the things that are going obsolete around us, the old digital manual world.

Gaynor Howe plays Sophie, a warm, exuberant, charming woman who meets George and sees his vulnerability, and she starts to get George to see how empty his life is. Gently, and with beautiful sincerity, she gets him to open up and discover his larger self, just a little, and so the movie is about their brief time together and a deep bonding. If you can connect to these two characters, you'll love the majority of the movie. Howe is terrific in her only film to date, and she and Piccinilli have genuine, if unusual, chemistry.

There is another, too large aspect to the film which gets in the way a little, and that's a political commentary about global warming. Not that there is a clear stance, but there is a third character, not so briefly, who we are supposed to think is some kind of gifted scientist gone hermit in the desert who has predicted the earth's climatic doom. It's not that we don't believe him (or do), it's more just thin science and a bit of repetition as the idea gets stated and re-stated in different ways. I got so interested in the couple I really wanted less and less to think about the hot dry future, especially in a kind of dumbed down way. It is the one core weakness in a disarming, sweet, and unusual film.

And the ending will surprise you. It's perfect, and seems to just unfold, like the best of the film does in scene after hot scene.
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The few reviews I have seen tell the story of...
rwvazq20 May 2012
This is a brave movie. I am not a film critic but a neuroscientist who has focused on the connection between neuroscience and mental disorders for 20 years. Why is this important to state? Because I am afraid survival-enabling human consciousness has slammed head on with the 21th century's inhuman modes of existence, a reality for the vast majority of human beings. This film in its honest and painful manner holds no punches back and delivers its deep message on the ephemeral nature of existence. The looming ecological disaster is just a faint echo of the film's main message. The leading character's lack of a "transcendent" epiphany is NOT a drawback but a realistic acceptance of the pain of self-consciousness. Love of another, love of nature, love of knowledge is what this film is about, those who miss this clear message are already gone….
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Tale of quirky protagonist's obsession with obsolescence fails to fire
Turfseer2 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
'Obselidia', created by first time director/writer Diane Bell, apparently went over very well at the Sundance Festival. It's one of those quirky indies which will probably appeal to mostly young people who can identify with the offbeat protagonist played by Michael Piccirilli. Piccirilli, an Australian, is almost 40 years old but his character, George Sanders, feels like he's much younger. George is writing an encyclopedia of obsolete items; he works as a librarian and types his manuscript on an old fashioned typewriter. He films video on an old video camera and enjoys watching slides on an old fashioned slide projector (the slides are interspersed throughout the film and can be seen during the opening and closing credits). Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the film is trying to identify all the items George has collected in his apartment.

Obselidia's plot is rather thin. George meets Sophie, a projectionist at movie theater which only plays silent films. Sophie is also a quirky, free spirit and agrees to drive out to Death Valley to meet George's hero, Lewis, a novelist who believes that the human race will probably become extinct in about 100 years due to some kind of looming environmental disaster. When Sophie finds out George is unable to drive, she orders him to get behind the wheel and orders him to drive despite the fact that he has no license. The odd couple finally meet up with Lewis but Sophie finds him to be pretentious. George and Sophie sleep outside in a pup tent but the relationship between them is strictly platonic (except maybe for one chaste kiss).

After saying goodbye to Lewis, George and Sophie drive for two hours and discover a curator of a ghost town off a dirt road. When Sophie realizes she forgot her camera, they drive back to Lewis but find him dead. George stays with the body (out of "respect") while Sophie goes for help (but we never see the police arrive or the body taken away). Finally, back home in California, George musters the courage to knock on Sophie's door, only to find that she has boyfriend.

The experience in the desert is supposed to have a great impact on George but he doesn't show it. At the end of the film, he's back at the library and says nothing to a woman who had invited him to a party prior to his sojourn in the desert. Not only does 'Obselidia' lack a central antagonist, but George's repudiation of his "love is obsolete" comment at the beginning of the film, is not borne out by any concrete actions in the real world. George is just as cut off from interpersonal relationships as when we first meet him.

A character who's obsessed with obsolescence might seem like a clever idea for a movie. The objects of his 'desire' certainly provide grist for the curious cinematographer. But ultimately, George's journey is unsatisfying precisely because the story has little conflict between its characters and offers no significant growth for its offbeat protagonist.
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Loved the film
himzvora7 August 2014
Had heard of the film few years ago and finally got my DVD from Amazon today and watched the film. Loved the film. Highly recommended. Kudos to team and thank you for making the film. It is an originally well written, executed film. I don't want to give away anything about the film because I think that may spoil your viewing, and I'm not a very good reviewer to be honest. If I like the film, I say it. If I don't like the film, I say it. This is one of those rare gems that people would've hardly heard of. This movie pretty much speaks about life, death, existentialism, and the meaning of certain things in our purpose of living. And it being a love story, makes it further interesting.
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Quirky, intelligent, fulfilling
sotan-16 April 2012
This one is for people who both feel and think deeply. The writing is original, the acting is superb, the cinematography is virtuosic. That someone would think of writing and producing a film about a neurotic man who collects obsolete things which incorporates end-of-the-world discussion and Buddhist philosophy, then somehow imagining that people would want to watch it, is simply astounding. Even more astounding is that the movie is engrossing and not at all depressing - instead it is very much life affirming and a profound pleasure to watch. It moves slowly (a good thing) and it forgoes the typical Hollywood emotional overkill. One in a million!
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Preachy, pretentious, and fatally flawed
scf12 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It's really too bad. This movie starts out great--a really quirky lead, an interesting foil as the (almost) romantic interest, and a really odd plot. And it's fine, right up to the point where it changes from a pretty good romantic comedy into an overly preachy climate change documentary wanna-be. The level of fatalism from that point on is totally excessive, and leads to major problems in consistency (e.g., the attitude of the hermit-like author to his son). And I'm about as far left as one gets on climate change; this preaching with Morse code using atomic detonations for the dots and dashes was really unneeded and fundamentally fatal to what could have been a solid film, and one with a strong eco-message.
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