VIFF 09: Day 14 10/16/2009
Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl
Directed by Manoel De Oliveira
Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl is an adaptation of a short story, and appropriately clocks in at just over an hour long. Unfortunately, even with such a brief running time, my patience was occasionally tested by several flat scenes and some uneven performances. Still, the movie is of moderate merit, and has some interesting scenes and ideas. Directed by 100 year-old Manoel De Oliveira (who is slated to have another movie come out when he is 101), the film is a bit bland but doesn't overstep the boundaries of its story.
Directed by Andrew Bujalski
Beeswax is a modest, but very warm film, about identical twin sisters struggling with daily life. The film is not very dramatic, but the two main characters do find themselves at an interesting crossroads in their lives. Lauren is trying to land a career in teaching, but may not be willing to make the sacrifices in order to do so; and Jeannie, who is confined to a wheelchair, runs a vintage clothing shop and may be facing a lawsuit from her business partner. To make matters more complicated, Merill, an old flame of Jeannie's, has made his way back into their lives, just as he is preparing to take the bar exam. The lives of these very real characters, are just about as interesting as our own, without melodrama or contrivance. Beeswax comes off as very sincere, but lacks anything beyond such humble achievements. In particular, I admired how Jeannie being in a wheelchair was handled. Instead of drawing attention to her disability, it is dealt with in a matter-of-fact fashion. She is a very capable person, and the wheelchair is only on one occasion a considerable hindrance. The humour, for the most part, comes off as very natural, as does the dialogue. With solid performances (the twins are especially endearing) and effectively muted drama, Beeswax is a mild success.
posted by adam cook