Monday, October 12, 2009

CIFF 09: Partners

As the Festival continues, it will get harder to review films such that you'll still have time to catch them if my write-up prompts you to be interested. For instance, I wish to God—or perhaps, following the film's brazen idioms, I pray to an Aztec priestess—that I had time to assemble a full review of the three-hour, Teddy-winning, shape-shifting, humidly surreal Mexican drama Raging Sun, Raging Sky in order to convince even one extra person to catch tonight's screening. That one is neck and neck at the moment with My Neighbor, My Killer and with one other title I haven't yet divulged for my favorite of the fest so far, but it's also as mad as a hatter, prompting several walkouts over the course of its 191 grotty, gropey, robustly homoerotic, unabashedly apocalyptic minutes. I'm dying for people to see it. As Aaliyah memorably posed, are you that somebody?

Keep an eye out for that film and for my further thoughts about it, but for now, my first "lame duck" review of the fest is for Frédéric Mermoud's erotically charged Swiss/French detective thriller Partners (or Complices, in French). Spoiler warning: I really liked it, and I imagine lots of other people would also. Even the couple who couldn't stop talking and whingeing as Raging Sun, Raging Sky barreled onward expressed great enthusiasm for Partners, which is much less of a backhanded compliment than it might sound. Here's the beginning of that review:

"Thank goodness someone invented television, or the Earth would never have had the chance to pose itself such trenchant questions as, What do we as a planet most deeply prefer: quasi-democratic contests among amateur singers, or tense four-way standoffs among forensic analysts, the suspected culprits in their cases, the mauled and blue-lipped victims, and their own upsurges of "humanizing" emotion and bias? Put a microphone or a pair of sterilized tweezers in someone's hand, and the whole world thrills. Eventually, someone will figure out a way to blend these two indefatigable premises, somewhere in the vicinity of So You Think You Can Autopsy?.

Meanwhile, thank goodness, too, that someone invented movies, so that scenarios that could easily boil down to an extended episode of CSI: Lyon actually pop on the big screen, taking advantage of unexceptional but unimpeachably sturdy craftsmanship to tell a two-pronged story about two risk-taking teenagers, at least one of whom is doomed to wash ashore on some brackish French riverbank, and about the two police investigators who keep learning things, and rarely the things they expect to learn, by burrowing further into the case..."
(Keep reading)

Partners completed its three-screening run at the festival on Sunday 10/11. Here's hoping you caught it, since I have not discovered any current plans for a U.S. release—though eventually, one seems likely, since Americans will go to French-language movies even when they won't go to any other international films, and Partners has going for it four sexy actors in various states of déshabillé.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home