Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Winter of Love

Scott Foundas, a staff writer for LA Weekly, perfectly summed up Cate Shortland's debut feature, Somersault, when he likened it to "one of those Joni Mitchell ballads about traveling in some vehicle through an unspecified landscape and trying to find a sense of yourself." Like a Mitchell song, Somersault is hopelessly sentimental, yet its earnestness saves it from the damnation I would normally ascribe to the more emotively pornographic heart-string pluckers prolifically swarming multiplexes everywhere. The film's absolute quiescence humbles the film, preventing it from employing the manipulative tactics of most coming of age films. The shots are a tad too beautiful for the film's own good, but because of the dynamism of the main character(which is the Somersault's irrefutable strength), it is tolerable, at times fulfilling, even. The night shots of a snow strewn Australian resort town are certainly worthy of celebration here.

However, Decoder Ring's tres-cool soundtrack is another potential notch against the film, and though it has its effective moments, its glitches and whirs are nauseously hip and cause cringes where there should be soft mews of affirmation. Where a very similar (and potentially damning, had Somersault not been made in the same year) film My Summer Of Love perfectly melds Goldfrapp's original score with its lush images, too great of a disconnect is present here, leaving one wanting of a moment of silence rather than dampered guitars. A likening to My Summer of Love is truly inevitable. The films are oppositionally-seasoned sisters. Had Somersault followed My Summer of Love, it would be far more suspect. But as it is, I would strongly recommend giving this one a couple hours of your time. You won't leave empty handed.

My experience of the film was certainly one of a kind, as the Sunset 5 in Hollywood has Somersault playing just next door to Abominable, a bigfoot monster flick. During the quietest moments of Somersault, the rumblings of Bigfoot's rampages shook the theater. Rather poignantly, it seemed to occur at all the right moments. Hand holding and emotionally eruptive scenes took on an even greater pertinence. It lead me to wonder, if "quiet film" filmmakers shouldn't break from the mold and start actually using sound (as the film's "Sound Designer" appears in the opening credits) a bit more daringly. But then I suppose it wouldn't be a quiet film, would it?


Post a Comment

<< Home