Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Vortex--Lithuanian film at the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF

Wow. There are few films so bad that they make me angry. This was one of them. The story of a guy from the Lithuanian countryside who goes to the city, gets involved with a bad woman, gets involved with a good woman, is married, where the woman falls while pregnant miscarries, can't have children, etc... I say etc... because there literally is no variation in this film from the standard stereotypical theme, but more importantly because the way the film is told is so flat, so emotionless, so depthless, that it feels like what I just wrote is all that's happening in a literal sense. There are scenes where the dialogue is almost literally "What happened? We lost the baby. Oh no, what will we do now! We'll manage somehow."....and nothing else. The dialogue could have been written on the back of a matchbook. There's no drama, no dramatic tension whatsoever, just a feeling that maybe all of this is a joke, some self reflexive parody of a period drama from the years immediately following the Second World War, which is when this takes place. Not that you'd know it because there's next to nothing special about the film that might indicate it took place then. I kept waiting for there to be something, anything, but no.

There's a difference between showing and telling, and the people who made this film appear not to have figured out what that is.

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