Sunday, 23 November 2008

Pedro Costa



I had the pleasure of attending Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie (Pedro Costa) the other evening. My opinion is that the film drags on a little too much on selected imagery that isn't interesting enough to warrant the amount of quandary on matter versus idea, but then I suppose you could say that the character couple have been making films for 22 years, and perhaps in this stage of their career and process the cogs of filmmaking still grind even without the substance upon which to oil them.

I could also say that this film is typically Portuguese, and if you have read any Portuguese literature or watched much Portuguese cinema, patience will get you through.

About half way through, quite a few people walked out. The continuous reexamining of footage, particularly the same scene, or couple of same frames, must have driven them batty. At the end, only the film-lagged survived. I felt that the film didn't have the requited humor it set out to deliver, and I only wished the actors were better cast. In my opinion they lacked empathy only through their own "itchiness" not to be where we were, in their edit suite, cast in near darkness. It felt that way anyway, they were tired, and therefore, we, the audience, became also tired.

It was suitable to throw in some light to stir our dulling senses but the drab interior of the place was making me feel nauseous, it felt like one of the offices of the Bureau of Meteorology, where my father took me as a kid, and where he worked. Those government walls pasted in pastel, neutral two-tone walls and speckled tiny driblets of pale gold or flecked silver floors made of some kind of rubbery Linoleum.

Having said thus, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie was not at all a bad film nor was it an ambitious film that failed, indeed, it succeeded in mapping out the processes at work considering the image. Pedro did a good job and unfortunately in order to do a good job you have to put your audience through their paces.

The ending I particularly liked, the habitual peering into the cinema by the filmmaker only to be followed by a hollowed out exhaustion or weariness. I recommend people see this film, only if to remind them that the YouTube generation of ten minute attention span conditioning can be broken and should be broken if only as an exercise in understanding the longevity of experience through external sensory adaptations of our worldly existence.

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