Reviewed By Greg Muskewitz
Posted 02/03/04 11:55:07

"Ambiguous talk and arbitrary destinations."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Experimental Hungarian film from Benedek Fliegauf that begins with an assortment of people crossing paths in a mall, and then proceeds with a dislocated short story from each.

Really a cavalcade of short films, each one lasts around 10-minutes, concerning a multitude of conversations and arguments that seek to give definition (and usually a revelation at the end) to the otherwise stripped nutritional value. There are seven in total, with various ranges of characterizations and topics — a man trying to give away his dog to a lesbian couple, two guys talking about a purchase we cannot see (at first it seems like it could be a car, but it turns out to be some sort of human Furby), a father lamenting to his wife over his 10-year-old daughter’s distance and development (“Her nipples are swelling”), a duo of raconteurs sharing a story about a catfish, a couple’s argument over the boyfriend’s porn (“Wherever I look I see your sexual frustration”) and his friend’s recent suicide, a couple discussing a nightmare that woke the girlfriend, and two friends lost while trying to find a former colleague who went mad. The skill of the assembly, something shared by all, is that each piece generally starts and ends in a middle, with the initial ambiguous talk giving form and shape in terms of speech only, as it continues on. In following their arbitrary destinations, there is a clear sense of development no matter how short or limited the construction is. Naturally, some pieces hold more weight than others, and only a very few bore in their chatty explorations. Ostensibly, the key in learning anything is what they reveal in speech, minimally intriguing as a psychological experiment. The execution of such is even less formal than all of the talk, another shared point being the jacitatation of the camerawork, zigzagging back-and-forth to the faces of the participants with the occasional pixelation of the blown-up digital video in its monochromatic etiolated color. Distracting as it may be, the petty annoyance remains under control when the storytelling is at its most compelling, bothersome only when boredom sets in, but it all seems rather appropriate for the style Fliegauf is aiming after. Still, it probably would have worked better as a real short film. With Rita Braun, Barbara Csonka, Edit Lipcsei, Félix Péter Mátyássi, Péter Pfenig, Dr. Dusán Vitanovics, and Katalin Vörös.


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