Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PIFF Day 5

"Eldorado" (Belgium) turned out to be one of my favorites so far. It tells the story of Yvan, a no-nonsense vintage car dealer who catches an inept young man trying to burglarize him. After a night-long stand-off (with the would-be burglar refusing to come out from under Yvan's bed), Yvan almost in spite of himself decides to drive the burglar home to visit the burglar's estranged parents. The road trip that ensues is full of quirky moments and offbeat humor. Yvan's unsentimental kindness toward the perpetually bewildered young man, though inexplicable, makes an odd kind of sense--sort of like the rest of the film. (8)

I couldn't quite grab onto "Empty Nest" (Argentina), the story of a successful playwright, Leonardo, and his disconnected relationship with his wife, Martha. For one thing, it was hard to tell at times which scenes were meant to actually be happening to Leonardo and which were depictions of his fantasy life. Still, there was poignance in the film's portrayal of the profound disengagement between him and Martha, even while others treat them as a unit in the way typical of long marriages. I appreciated the film as a nuanced portrait of someone who has become displaced from his own life. (5)

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