Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Love Affair of Sorts

A LOVE AFFAIR OF SORTS                        D-                   
USA  (91 mi)  2011  d:  David Guy Levy

The entire venture feels like it was made for YouTube viewing, as if the film was shot on iPhone or using the video feature of a cell phone, where the tops of people’s heads are routinely cut off, where the jittery movement of the camera and the jostling of background noise are regular annoyances that the audience is forced to endure.  As an expression of the self-indulgent culture of Los Angeles, where all people can think about is themselves, which they do continuously, this is about as narcissistic an expression as you’re going to find, as the film is simply pointing mobile cameras in the faces of a few people’s ordinary lives, as if waiting for something significant to happen, which of course, sorry to disappoint, it never does.  If that in itself is reason enough to see a movie, more power to you.  But the filmmaker not only places himself in front of the camera, a vapid and completely uninteresting character with zero personality, but he has the gall to suggest that meeting his female heroine, the somewhat attractive and level headed Hungarian Buddhist Enci (Lili Bordán), is completely by accident, and that her interest in him is somehow naturally spontaneous, while it is quite clear there’s nothing real about it.  The facetious plot which documents their budding friendship is about as contrived as you’ll ever find in the movies, where nothing that happens is remotely believable, yet the tale is spun as if pointing cameras has a mesmerizing effect on these two individuals who are strangely drawn to one another. 

Despite the continual awkwardness between these two individuals, they pretend like they have actual feelings and affection, yet what the viewer sees onscreen is no chemistry whatsoever except these phony lines of supposed attraction.  The only real moment occurs when Enci stomps away from David and his friend and steps outside for a smoke, where she confesses before the camera what an idiot she is as she has no interest in this guy whatsoever.  Everything that happens after that moment is a betrayal of the truth, a façade, a smokescreen invented to supposedly please an audience, more likely the adolescent male fantasy of the director, but it is entirely misguided.   As a reflection of “me” culture, where people continually post pictures of themselves on the Internet, this film deserves a place right next to all the other posted videos of people doing stupid things.  But as a genuine film, this is a stab in the dark, a facsimile of the real thing.  What passes for a story is preposterous, as is the presence of the filmmaker before the camera, but when he’s called upon to document Enci and a date with her Hungarian boyfriend, the waves of self-consciousness suggest three’s a crowd, yet he doesn’t have the decency to politely leave.  He forces his film down the audience’s throat whether they want it or not, whether it’s interesting or not, and whether it has any value or not.  These things matter in the conception and development of a film, but this director attempts to bypass all that art, intelligence, and preparation and simply wing it.  The result couldn’t be more indulgent or a bigger waste of time, but not really offensive enough to rate an F.     

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