Sunday, March 19, 2006


ICEBERG Belgium, 2005; 84 min.

Written and Directed by Dominique Abel,
Fiona Gordon
and Bruno Romy

Dominique Abel, and Fiona Gordon were, for a time, professional circus clowns, and this greatly informs and restricts their abilities as filmmakers. This film proves that editing is important part of the filmmaking process, and that what sometimes works on stage or TV doesn't work on the big screen. Not that the gags don't work, they actually do much of the time, but there's lots of scenes with people just sitting (or standing) there waiting for the scene to start. Dead air almost never works, especially in Belgium.

The film begins with an Eskimo woman(Lucy Tulugarjuk) explaining that she's one of the last speakers of a native language and then explains that she's going to tell how she met her husband. We soon forget about her, as it appears she has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the movie

Fioana (Gordon) is cleaning up her fast food restaurant, when she gets locked in the freezer, and is discovered the next morning by an employee. It looks like a Carol Burnett episode without the dialogue. What happens next looks like it was inspired by Speilberg's “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and like the characters in the aforementioned film, she becomes obsessed with a distant iceberg somewhere in the far north.

Fiona's husband (Dominique Abel) and two kids(Ophélie Rousseau and Robin Goupil) are worried, but soon she escapes, and winds up on a town on the coast, where she pursues a mute sailor (Philippe Martz), whom she wants to hire to take her to her dream while her husband arrives to take her home.

The big problem with the film is pacing. Even though Gordon and Abel have been doing comedy for years and years, the film is a series of tableaus and gags which may indeed work by themselves but are done in a way where there's a great deal of dead air. The final third of the film, which takes place at sea, is especially so, and gets really old really quick. What was crucial to slapstick comedy in “ancient times” was timing, something this film doesn't really have. Pity.

Terra Incognita Switzerland, 2005; 18 min.

Written and Directed
by Peter Volkart,

“In the Amazon, the prophylactics prowl! In the Amazon, the hypodermics Howl!”-The guy who wrote “American Pie.”

The reason for the above quote is that it's germane. This a mockumentery about the notorious pataphysicist Igor Leschenko,(Paul Avondet) who in the 1920s proved that the laws of gravity were all wrong and had to travel to Nanopol Island, past the distant land of upper Suburbia, and where gravity stops, in order to prove his theories correct. Yeah, sure, and the Russians got to the moon in 1938…Jeez!

This is one of those films that is going to at least make it to the semi-finals for the Oscars next year for the best live-action short subject. It's a hoot.

CAVITE Philippines/USA, 2005; 80 min

Written and Directed by
Ian Gamazon and Neill dela Llana

Adam(Ian Gamazon) is a security guard living in San Diego. His girlfriend (Dominique Gonzalez) is about to leave him and abort their unborn baby at a most inopportune time, His father has just died and has to go all the way back to the Philippines to attend the funeral. He calls his girlfriend in Taipei during the stopover, but that's just a red herring. It's when he arrives in Manilla and he hears a mysterious cel-phone ringing in his suitcase that things begin to get interesting.

A genuine terrorist is on the other end. Tariq(uncredited!) is with a renegade faction of the Abu Sayyif -Al Qaeda's franchise in the Philippines. He's kidnapped Adam's mother and sister, and if our hero doesn't do exactly what he's told, then mom and sis are going to bite the big one.

So begins a trip through various Philippine slums, where Adam is forced to re-engage in a life he had long ago left behind. In the meantime, he has to engage in a dialogue with an abusive Tariq, who seems to be walking alongside him and noticing everything that's going on. This is one of the most omniscient villains ever to almost make it onscreen. Whoever it is who did this has given the performance of a lifetime. Gamazon, who's onscreen for all but a few minutes, is also amazing, giving as good as he gets and running the gambit of emotions.

They said that he didn't want the job of “star” but he didn't have the money to hire anybody else. That may have been a blessing in disguise, because everything is perfect, and the dilemma he has to face near the end is truly horrifying

There is a reason why this won the Independent Spirit Award® for best foreign film. This is one scary thriller!!! It's amazing what you can do with almost no money nowadays.

Detail Germany 2005; 7 min

Directed by
Kanwal Sethi

A large brick is moved in the territories. This is the way the Germans denounce the Jews nowadays. Don't they know they'll never have any credibility on this subject?

No comments: