Sunday, September 12, 2010


Home alone (well, except for Gunner, Max, and LeeLoo) this weekend, I've been catching up on my NetFlix Watch Instantly queue...

This 1999 German motion picture, starring Russian and French actors, and filmed in Bulgaria, is as enjoyable piece of surrealism as I've seen in a very long time.  Tuvalu is a relentlessly clever visual feast reminds me of the dreams I wish I'd write down when I awake.  Set in a desolate, rotting seaport Tuvalu is a love story featuring a Chaplinesque agoraphobe, a blind tyrant of a patriarch who convinced he's operating a popular swim club, his wife the ticket taker who accepts buttons in lieu of cash for admission, an adorable and conniving love interest, and an evil older brother whose interests include stealing the girl and seeing the bath house demolished to make way for some badly needed urban redevelopment.  Oh, there is a punctilious government inspector, the good natured local constable, a chamber of commerce in need of nothing so much as embalming, the half dozen eclectic patrons of the bath, and a similar number of industrious and clever homeless people.  Shot in black and white, but tinted sepia, green, and blue as needed, this essentially silent film is jam-packed with Rube Goldberg contraptions, Keystone Cops-like buffoonery, and Buster Keaton-style physical humor.  The most amazing thing about this unreal setup is the way that is all makes deeply involving sense by the time we reach the end of the story.  Clever stuff.

Lest you presume this is a children's movie please note that Tuvalu is rated R; the story includes a murder, nudity, and a scene of voyeurism.  Like I said, it is surreal...

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