Sunday, June 06, 2010

David's Birthday

Just got back from a decent Italian flick David's Birthday which is playing at NewFest. My friend thought the title made it appropriate for my special day though the movie birthday in question wasn't exactly, um, celebratory once it rolled around at the end. But it's the thought that counts.

We liked the film's attention to a weird amount of ensemble character detail considering it kept threatening to become a one and a ½ man show in the Death in Venice mode. The plot, such as it is, concerns a married Italian man Matteo (Massimo Poggio) on vacation with his wife, played by the always welcome Maria de Medeiros -- I just love her movie face -- from Henry & June and Pulp Fiction, and another couple. Matteo becomes obsessed with his friend's 18 year old son David (Thyago Alves), an underwear model from New York. It's really not as tawdry as it sounds! Most of the good stuff in the film is in the oddly realistic wandering mundane conversations between spouses and friend's spouses. I loved one tense heart-to-heart between Matteo and Francesca that never self identified as such. Instead, the conversation disguised itself as a simple list of home decorating plans. People do like to distract themselves from the heavy stuff.

Like I Am Love, another new (and much greater) Italian film about a sexual awakening, it goes from being electrified by sensuality to being punishing about sex. Movies can be so puritanical.

What movie did you see this weekend? At home or the theater?

9 comments:

Fernando Moss said...

I hate that since I got promoted in my job I haven't seen a single movie not in the theather nor at home... That sucks! I have no life anymore!

James T said...

I watches Sabrina just so that I can read Nick's forthcoming write-up and know what he's talking about.

I am rewatching Psycho at the moment.

Barry, Milwaukee said...

That movie sounds interesting...hopefully I get it here. This weekend I saw Mother and Child...which I quite enjoyed (A-). I liked how very frank each and every character was. Some critics call it too melodramatic and soap opera-ish, but that all worked for me. I also saw (out of boredom and laziness to drive to a theater) City Island. I could have taken in The Secret in their Eyes or Human Centipede, but I was more in the mood for the chance at a laugh. For a while during City Island, I felt like it was too obvious, poorly shot and not to mention it sounded horrible. And then Emily Mortimer showed up and brightened it up quite a bit. The second half worked much better and in the end I would give it a B-/C+.

Mike said...

I watched Splice this weekend, and thought it was fantastic. Sarah Polley is one of two actresses working right now that I think can boost their movie 1000% or more by sheer force of will (Marisa Tomei is the other one) and Adrien Brody is pretty great, too. The movie itself is anything but shy, and with its leads totally committed, makes for probably the best thing out there right now (i.e. this year's Moon.)

Jose said...

Finished watching the awesome Millennium trilogy.
I'm already having withdrawal symptoms though :(

Dimitra said...

I watched Donnie Darko. Loved it.

Murtada said...

I saw Splice which i loved and thought was smart and edge of your seat thrilling.

At NewFest I saw a Brazilian movie From Begining to end, about two brother who fall in love with each other. It was terrible. Cliched dialogue, the plot had no conflict despite the incest theme. Even the pretty leads didn't make this go down easy. I could hardly contain myself from booing at the screen.

Mark said...

I agree with Murtada about From Beginning to End. The only reason the film was shown was because of the leaked hot scenes. It was a story without conflict, and possibly the worst piano music in the world.

That said, David's Birthday was a nuanced, layered story that I didn't find puritanical about sex. It was made to mirror the Tristan and Isolde story, which envelops the film musically. One of my faves at NewFest this year.

Can't wait to see the Topp Twins tomorrow night. I've got about 8 more programs to see before the festival closes this Sunday, and I'm eager to see what's next.

Cal said...

I found David's Birthday quite homophobic. The way it fetishises David, that sex scene, and the punishment the married guy faces as a result of giving in to his desires? Plus it was SO overdone.

Michela Cescon was very good though.