19 June 2020 | edge547
Yes, it's pretty good
I read about this movie in a film magazine and I was intrigued. It runs more than thirteen hours and takes the form of six separate films that play one after the other, with the only common thread being the four lead actresses, who appear as different characters in each of the segments. It sounded like it could be very pretentious and overly artistic and everything like that, but it also sounded interesting and different enough that I had to check it out.
It was a while before I was able to see it, and I found myself wondering about it. Why spend ten years making a film that is really six films? Why not release each film separately. But it turns out that really is the genius of it. The six films only work because they're combined. Four of them don't even have an ending. On their own, they're nothing special. So the director really succeeded in his attempt to try something new, to combine different story elements in this unique way. He created six episodes that play one after another, and he even appears in the film himself to introduce it at the beginning, then twice more between some of the segments. And it all works! People must have told him he was crazy, but he pulled it off.
What ends up happening for the viewer is that instead of watching six films, we really are watching one film about four women. These four women, the actresses who appear throughout, are in a way playing actresses, maybe playing themselves ever, who appear in different stories for our enjoyment. We don't end up caring if a story has no end, because at that point we're just excited to see where they will take us next. It really is very clever. The stories are enjoyable in themselves, but we only end up caring about them exactly as much as we should. That's a good thing. We don't care if someone dies, because we know everyone will return safe and sound in the next episode.
And the stories are very interesting. They're funny and they're tense and they're serious and they're sad. And there were countless moments and scenes that felt totally original, like nothing I'd ever seen in any film before. That is rare these days, yet this guy pulls it off again and again. The length may be a big turnoff for a lot of people, but think of it like a miniseries. You're not going to watch it all at once. The DVD is actually four DVDs, and each of those is divided into two acts, so there are 8 acts total. The first two acts line up with the first two episodes, while the third episode takes up the next three acts and the fourth episode takes up two more acts of its own. The final act consists of the final two episodes, which play more like short films. You'll watch it over 8 nights, or 4 nights, or however long it takes. Maybe you'll take a night off between episodes, and it'll be there waiting for you when you come back. It's a slow movie at times, but not tedious. It wasn't for me, anyway. It was very entertaining and I always looked forward to seeing what was next.
One thing I enjoyed was the fact that the stories were not rushed. I've seen films that were longer than they needed to be and some that were shorter. Here, the pacing is perfect. It's a long film, but not a slow film. It's slow at times, but only when it needs to be. The two longest segments also happened to be the two best. Both were very different, but they had a lot of flashbacks and wandering narratives that took as all over the place until we didn't know what to expect. But I will say that the film is very artistic in every way, both good and bad. There is a complete Kill Bill (volumes 1 and 2) in there, and a silent film that comes with nearly all the frustrations of a silent film, although it somehow still feels welcome when it arrives. It's not a perfect film, but it is a very fun experiment. The director, it seems, took a big risk in making it and he succeeded. He had a vision and he saw it through and now we have this wonderful film to enjoy. If more filmmakers would follow this example then we would have a bigger variety of films instead of the same old garbage year after year, sequel after sequel, every movie being exactly the same.