Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ice Flows

"It's the little sins that give your soul away.
Will the darkest hour write a blank check on your soul?"
- One Good Year by Slaid Cleaves

Self-searching can take a nasty turn or an illustrative one depending on your mind bend at the time. I recently saw the 2005 movie L'Iceberg on a Netflix rental recently, where illustration, in its many interpretations, was the direction taken.

On an excuse of a sailboat dubbed Le Titanique, the somewhat confused Fiona (played by Fiona Gordon) along with the reticent (to the point of dumbness)sailor and owner of the charmed boat, René (played by Philippe Martz) and the stowaway/Fiona's husband, Julien (played by Dominique Abel) set sail for points known to be besotted with icebergs. How they get to this stage of their lives is not worth revealling; just your usual suburbia unhinging, only done from a Belgian perspective. The movie is slow in unwinding, something like watching a performance piece wondering what the point's about but enjoying the images along the way. Remember back in high school being shoved out the front door on a blind date with a person in possession of a "great personality"? Ever wonder what happened to these "great personality" folks? Well, they all seem to have congregated as the cast of this movie. I'm serious about the implications of that phrase. There are characters out the wazoo in this film. If you're not attracted by the story, then come to see the cast. One would think that in a film's cast numbering in the 20's, there would be at least one attractive looking person. But, true to "great personality", there are none. I'm not sure if this says something about Belgium or the directors' choices. The film, while holding together in most spots, seems more of a series of vignettes. I promise you'll be rewinding to catch certain scenes over again (Facial stretching to the point of Munch scene, "Don't Jump scene, various seaside shop scenes). What the story does is demonstrate that water to ice and ice to water is simply a matter of latitude. All ends happily without saccharine poisoning resulting.

The directors Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel (also principal stars) of the movie are also active actors in the movie, relying more on the physical than the verbal. Both of them collaborated in writing L'Iceberg with Bruno Romy.
The movie is low on schmaltz, short on dialogue (which may appeal to those folks who want to watch a foreign film but can't stand reading the subtitles), high on inventiveness and minimal stagings, and packed with images that wll stick with you. Highly recommended for the patiently curious. I'd recommend this for family viewing as well except there is some frontal nudity all done within the plot and with no sexual connotations at all. In fact, these scenes are both endearing and funny.

(An Aside: What's this about? When you do a Google search for the Images category for the phrase "Great Personality", why are the majority of images either horses or dogs? Just wonderin')

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