Sunday, August 12, 2007

2006 in Review: #11


Two warm, lovely slice-of-life comedies occupy this spot, one from a talented newcomer, the other from an acknowledged master of world cinema. The first film, a charmer from Mexico called Duck Season, focused on four people- two friends, a neighbor girl, and an older pizza delivery man- who while away an afternoon in and around one of the boys' apartments. Director Fernando Eimbcke gets perfectly natural performances from his cast, most of which had little to no previous screen acting experience. In my mind, the key to the film is the difference in perspectives between the older man and his younger playmates. He's old enough to be able to look at the lazy afternoon with nostalgia for his own youth, whereas for the kids it's something more rueful, a kind of fallback position due to their lack of other options.

Chantal Akerman's Tomorrow We Move wasn't commercially released in the U.S., but don't let that discourage you. Like Duck Season, much of the action is confined to an apartment, but whereas the characters in Eimbcke's film resign themselves to hanging out there, Akerman's heroine, played by the wonderfully neurotic Sylvie Testud, can't wait to get away. She's a writer of erotic fiction facing a deadline, but her meddlesome mother (Aurore Clement) and an ever-growing bunch of would-be buyers- including Lucas Belvaux and Natacha Régnier, who comes off like a French relative of Amy Adams in Junebug- makes this nearly impossible. In a way, Tomorrow We Move is a light comic take on material covered with less cheerful results in Akerman's Jeanne Dielman, but it's an impressive work in its own right.

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