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En la ciudad de Sylvie

Posted: May 1st, 2009, by Stan Tontas

Let’s start with the positive: this is a film that’s absolutely committed to telling its story in its way. It also makes excellent use of sound. The subjective viewpoint is sustained across all aspects of the production and for the whole running time.

That said, my god this was boring. This subjective view that the director maintains so well is that of an extremely unappealing borderline stalker utterly consumed by his internal world and failing (or not even trying) to connect to the many people (mostly attractive young women) who he casts his gaze over. Perhaps if the floppy-haired wannabe-Byron I’m-so-deep look doesn’t make you want to scream straight off you may have a better time empathising with him, but anyone of an age to hold their attention through this kind of film will have met (and tired of) such people by now.

There’s almost no dialogue in the film, except as passing fragments, more atmosphere than anything else. A bigger problem is that our Hero is essentially stalking women and I’m not sure if we’re being invited to sympathise with him, or squirm. In the longest of many long sequences he follows one particular woman for around 40 minutes. A generous interpretation could be that the filmaker intends to build up tension (and there was a short sequence that reminded me of Vertigo, though I can’t pin down why), but that’s being very generous.

Essentially this is a well-made film about an unsympathetic character in which almost nothing happens and I can’t think of a compelling reason to go out of your way to see this rather than spend time people-watching in your local cafe.

Stan Tontas

Stan lives in Glasgow.

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