9 August 2002 | André-7
A quirky little movie about fakery
This may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it has a genuine, unpretentious charm to it that I found appealing.
Alan Rudolph made this delightful little ode to lies, trickery and delusion on a shoestring budget. The story of a failed painter down on his luck in Paris in the 1920's who accepts a comission to forge a famous impressionist painting. The film questions what is real versus what is perceived or subjective. In a series of criss-crossing subplots and seemingly random encounters Rudolph has fun playing with the trickery of film to made some sly points about the art forms we hold dear.
The film was shot in Montreal, Canada, standing in for Paris and New York in the 1920's, with French-Canadian actors playing Parisians... The plot twists include a millionaire art collector publicly slashing a priceless painting, thinking it a forgery, while the fake painting is sent to hang in a New York museum. A Dadaist poet fakes his own death in order to attend his funeral to hear the things people will say about him. Same character, named L'Oiseau is actually an American ex-patriate named Fagelman! In a toungue-in-cheek hommage to people's perception of the period, Rudolph has Papa Hemmingway hanging-out in all the cafe's and at all the parties... He is seemingly everywhere, sipping scotch and mouthing tough-guy cliches...
But the viewer must beware of what he is watching. In a scene where Bujold's character rides in a taxi with Carradine's we are treated to lovely rear projection shots through the cab's back window of impressionist paintings of Paris at night! In another dimly lit cafe scene Rudolph chose to end the scene by panning away from the action to the bar where among the extras in period costume, two punk rockers are watching a hockey game on t.v.