12 March 2007 | etrenkamp
My girlfriend and I saw this at the IFC in NYC on Friday night. I went to film school, she studied French in college, we both loved Short Bus - we thought this would be fun date movie. Man, were we wrong.
As a film that's trying to be "art" it humorlessly apes just about every art film convention from the early days of Bergman to Wenders Wings of Desire. It is literally a shopping list of art film cliché's. That in itself would not be a crime if the film's treatment of these cliché's wasn't so boring. As well, the script is mediocre at best. Maybe this is due to a bad translation, but my girl, who speaks French, told me the translation was fairly accurate. And cinematagraphicaly, the film is just shot badly. Many shots are ackwardly framed and staged. It reminded me of Kevin Smith's Clerks, only at least Clerks had a strong story and clever script that over came it's tech limitations. This whole film just feels slightly less than mediocre on every level.
As for the story, the director wants us to believe that his doppleganger in the film is observing these woman play out their erotic fantasies because he doesn't understand female pleasure. But it's obvious that he enjoyed watching three girls get naked and screw each other. Just because he didn't touch them doesn't mean he didn't enjoy it egotistically. Yet the film never holds him accountable for this. He is presented as a victim of crazy actresses, an unsympathetic wife, a corrupt judicial system, and ultimately a victim of fate or divinity itself. The film seems to ask us to envy his power at getting these girls to kink it out in front of him at his beck and call and at the same time we are suppose to sympathize at what a good husband, artist, and father figure he is and how nobody understands what a victim he really is. It just doesn't work. Apparently, the events of the film are based on a real situation that happened to the film's director. This story sounds like something a philandering husband would tell his wife about being taken to a strip club. "No, dear, I didn't enjoy it all. I spent the whole time talking with the girls about Hobbes and Locke." Bullsh!t. Also, there is a lot of talk about taboos in the film. Apparently, the director's idea of taboo is having sex in a hotel room. Oh, how daring! Lastly, there are two fairly sexy sequences in the film. However, they are almost completely ruined by the film's score. Every time the girls start to get naked, this bizarre 80's horror film score comes on the soundtrack. This combined with the bad writing and staging just kills any feelings of arousal you may have. Throughout the screening people would just get up and leave. And when the final "tragic" moments of the film were played out the whole theatre was laughing at how bad it was. The only thing anyone was talking about as we filed out into the lobby was how much we wanted our money and time back.