9 March 2010 | sandover
a juvenile, conceited disaster
The film begins with a serial depiction of pick-ups by one of the film's characters, that appears promising - then, oh no, the character cries in the shower: the emptiness of his life, we gather, and also that the film is fishy.
One bold leap three years ahead.
Dear director, do not attempt such things if you have not foregrounded a story, however elliptic.
Actually there is no story, just amateurish shots of characters that confuse our endeavors to figure what happens, why this one appears, if it is central or peripheral to what is going on, then a female character appears played by a male actor, and the film by that point becomes "inferential" at best: we "infer" that this "transvestitism" is an Almodovar-like take; that the film shows the givings and misgivings of destiny in a group of people that meet, or fail to do so, in the end; we "infer" that the "alien thing" is comic, and stands for tenderness in the very end.
But the transvestitism is actually a travesty: a travesty for comedy, for relief, for enacting any sense of locality; the "alien thing" not only fails to engage in locality as well, but actually forecloses any sense of geographical specificity, and becomes a psychotic symptom for avoiding to do so (another film from Israel, that met with critical success, "The Bubble" engaged in the specificity of time and place, though it presented a nihilistic political point of view that, combined with its cinematic tendentiousness, turned it into hypocrisy).
It is a sad, expansive phenomenon that such uninformed sense of engagement masquerades as a kind of hurt sensibility, and a plea for sentimental and spiritual gathering of souls, a plea for love beyond our shortcomings, be them racial, sexual, ethnic ones. The film reads like a juvenile attempt at themes it fails to attack: what it means to be lonely and insecure and crave for it or be well-poised etc. but all this is to "infer"; let alone the preposterous thing going on between the journalist and the salesman: a journalist that has a humane streak falling for a gossipy, cliché-carved little nelly? There is no plausibility concerning the hovering, changing sentiments and this is so severe that comes off depressively and in the end, with the actually mad closure, pathologically I dare say.
Or,the three years leap is slumped on us for signaling the older dancer's reawakening of feelings for the young dancer? For the story we did not see in the beginning? That, OK, could be evolved in a later part of the film for bigger dramatic effect, but for what? So that we learn they passed three weeks together? This is the kind of thing the late Quentin Crisp serenely and acerbically mocked as three weeks of "meaningful relationship". This must also be the writer/director's sense of meaningful film-making.