Monday Morning
2½ out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
no smoking please In the way this film drifts from character to character, it's almost like Slacker for a middle-aged European! The freeform narrative is completely disarming and not very satisfying, but there's a lot of great stuff in each scene. Basically it centres on the middle-aged Vincent (Bidou), who lives in a small French village with his surly wife (Kravz-Tarnavsky), two sons (Tarielashvili and Pachod) and mother (Blanchet), and works in a smoke-filled factory (although it's forbidden to smoke inside!). When he's sacked, he goes on a bit of an odyssey, visiting his feisty old father (Kinski) in town and then heading off to Venice to see his father's friend (Iosseliani), an aging pianist with delusions of grandeur. Meanwhile, life back in the village continues as normal, even though no one has a clue where Vincent is.

Nothing links the film together from scene to scene beyond a general self-centeredness; everyone is so concerned with their own life that they don't even think about anyone else. Much of this is quite hilarious--these people are quirky and funny and constantly doing unexpected things. With its sparse dialog the film is almost completely silent. There are some extremely astute and clever sequences: a surreal barbecue on an Italian beach, a St George and the Dragon painting recreated with a runaway crocodile, an illiterate man writing a love letter, Cossacks drinking vodka and singing rather too loudly, a man illicitly watching some nuns' bare legs. But as a whole the film is fairly absurd. The camera seems to wander at random, easily distracted by anything that might be passing by, neglecting the central story for long stretches. It feels so utterly random and unconnected that it nearly does your head in trying to find a common thread. Then the village's reaction when Vincent returns home makes us wonder if maybe that's the point.

cert PG themes, language 24.Oct.02 lff

dir-scr Otar Iosseliani
with Jacques Bidou, Anne Kravz-Tarnavsky, Narda Blanchet, Radslav Kinski, Dato Tarielashvili, Adrien Pachod, Anna Lamour-Flori, Manu de Chauvigny, Arrigo Mozzo, Myriam Laidouni-Denis, Jérémy Rochigneux, Otar Iosseliani
release UK 6.Dec.02
Studio Canal
02/France 2h00

Olde Worlde. Enzo (Iosseliani) paints himself into history...


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© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall