Avant que j'oublie ( Jacques Nolot) 44 [I almost want to chalk my take on this one up to festival fatigue, since I absolutely adored the opening and closing shots, and found much of what came between downright amusing. Following the pathetic exploits of an aging gay Parisian writer, the movie has both a sense of wit about the sad predicament of being old, homosexual, and alone, and a sharp eye for the sorts of practical details that fill up his days (e.g. discussing the price of hustlers with his friends or beating a traffic ticket after an embarrassing bathroom-related accident). Similarly sly is the way the film, so centered on transactions throughout, equates its protagonists therapy with his romps with his tricks. Ultimately, on Day 8 of the Festival, sitting the film's endless dialogue scenes was a major test of patience, with little of the visual assurance that I dug in Nolot's Porn Theater.]
The Girl in the Park (David Auburn) 39 [This first feature from the playwright who brought us (the completely solid) Proof is disappointingly sketched, if perfectly harmless. Featuring a somewhat tough to stomach turn from Sigourney Weaver, the film concerns the psychodrama that arises when a bereaved mother returns to New York City 16 years after her child disappeared. When a young woman (Kate Bosworth, whose two different colored eyes should pretty much settle the debate), about the age that her daughter should be, enters her life, the sad mommy begins to suspect she's been reunited with her kin. The entire thing hinges upon a few stupid contrivances, with it becoming quite clear that any resolution will disappoint on some level. Auburn's screenplay, without a performance as powerful as Gwyneth Paltrow's was in Proof, creaks loudly with each new development.]
Help Me Eros (Lee Kang-sheng) 66 [Decidedly an improvement over The Missing, Lee's debut film, this finds the actor-turned-director still in territory that should feel familiar to those who have seen his work with Tsai Ming-liang, albeit with a jauntier tempo than his mentor's work. As the title implies, one of Lee's major concerns is how lust serves to stave off urban sadness, and the theme is presented through a series of comic set pieces featuring exotic food, suicide hotlines, streetside strippers, and acrobatic intercourse. Surprisingly funny, given how depressing the subject matter appears to be, the movie would likely be seen as some kind of more approachable career breakthrough had Tsai himself made it.