Month: January 2007

12h08 à l’est de Bucarest

A Fost sau n-a fost ?

Corneliu Porumboiu :: Romania :: 2006 :: 1h29

Up in Bucarest the demonstrations in front of the national TV station had led to the ex-dictator Ceausescu’s attempted escape from the country at eight minutes pas twelve. Sixteen years later, locked into the boredom of a little town, the local TV station decides to ask itself the question if they actually participated in the revolution of their country. All the characters in this little town are all preoccupied with other matters, and it seems as if there are only two candidates who actually demonstrated in front of the town hall on that particular day. But even that is still left to debate…

A curious, funny and slow movie which, from a very original perspective, analyses the role of side-lined characters in History. The entire movie comes together as a poem making a single point, while wrapped up in the portrayal of the slow, somewhat curious lives of the characters. The lack of speed may put you off, but also allows you to see better. Seriously consider walking in.


Mon Meilleur Ami

Mon Meilleur Ami

Patrice Leconte :: France :: 2006 :: 1h34

Sitting in an empty church at the funeral of one of his clients, the art dealer realizes that his funeral would not be any different. The sad realization that he may not actually have any friends, and the size of his ego, leads him into a knee jerk reaction of betting that he does actually have a friend and he will introduce him to his colleagues in 10 days. These 10 days are spent learning the ropes of human interaction for a character that needs to rediscover himself.

The challenging subject matter, friendship, makes the movie interesting. The ‘comedy’ structure, makes it weak. The director tried to analyze friendship and keep the ‘comedy’ structure at the same time, which is perhaps too much to ask of a short movie. We are forced to conclude that the movie is rather mediocre for lacking substance in the comedy field. Partly for not being funny enough and lacking comical complications, and partly for the ‘comedy’ being broken by more serious responses from the side characters. An inherent flaw which should have been dealt with before going into production.

To concentrate on the subject matter, friendship, it is a real pleasure to see a movie discuss what friendship really is, and what it takes. It is lightly defined as ‘someone you can call at 3AM’, but worked out slightly more through the characters and images as a kind of sexless loving relationship. The fusional-type of friendship shown in the movie is not the only type which exists in real-life, and technically one which does not really suit the characters involved – the art dealer has never shared anything with anyone (not even in his amorous life we can assume) so it would be unlikely that a fusional friendship would ever happen to him.

To be able to create a friendship, the movie teaches us, you have to smile, be likable and be authentic. The movie then doubts the formula it has given itself, as it should, and leaves you thinking about the subject. Therein lies the strength of the movie, as the instigator of a thinking about friendship. But it is regrettable that some more thought did not go into the movie before recording to make some more out it. Watch this movie if you feel like thinking about the subject, it will help to get you started.