11 July 2008 | 18heavenly
Difficult, but not pretentious
This is a very difficult film to describe, because the description of the goings-on on the screen won't get you very far. The director denies you any conventional narrative that would give you access to the characters' motivation. They themselves don't know what drives them, what do they want or what will hit them; that's the key.
It reminded me of Antonioni more than any other film I have seen. Just like Antonioni, it seemed initially boring, but then I noticed that time was running faster than I had felt. Just like Antonioni, the cinematography is meticulously composed, with characters often sharing spotlight with objects or panoramas. Towards the end Sophie is overwhelmed with profound sadness whose source she cannot fully pinpoint, as in L'Avventura, and eventually she completely vanishes from view, just like in L'Eclisse.
Apologies for describing the film as "just like the Great Master XY", I can't stand this kind of lazy reviewing myself, but somehow the film was like an object that is too close for me to see in its entirety. It has all the hallmarks of an art-house bore - lack of plot, lack of glamorous characters, alienation, etc., but I wasn't bored. It forced me to stop and watch, and conclude that this film probably has more to say about our world than any number of films full of profound "statements".
Of course that doesn't mean that many people won't be bored, just like with Antonioni.