Thursday, February 3, 2011

Short Takes: Les amours imaginaires, Ondine

Based on his first two films you can tell that Xavier Dolan was the kind of guy who kept a journal in which he wrote about his first kiss next to a haiku about the Monet exhibit he'd just attended. His films express exactly the same thing and as an actor/writer/director he comes off looking as one of the following: a hipster wunderkind or a pretentious artsy douchebag.
Regardless of your personal opinion of the man working on all levels of the film, what's true is that Dolan has quite impeccable taste and this can be seen in the way he pays tribute (or steals from) Godard, Wong Kar Wai and Pasolini among other cinema greats.
What might appeal to so many about his work is that in a way he brings these arts down to the angsty teenager masses, for what is Les amours imaginaires if not an attempt to express, or perhaps conceal, his inner demons filtered through the higher arts.
The plot of the movie is nothing if not inconsequential (two best friends fall for the same guy) and while sometimes you can see the director trying too hard to make a big deal out of some things (like his homosexuality) the truth is that the film is expressed beautifully through the eyes of someone who's still growing up; if everything in the film feels like a tiny drama taken out of proportions it's precisely because it's what it is! This is a film for all the drama queens in the world who also happen to have a taste for Asian cinema and the French nouvelle vague.

As if trying to recreate the strange lyrical romanticism he achieved with The Crying Game, Neil Jordan tackles on something more mythological in Ondine: a tale of a fisherman named Syracuse (Farrell) who catches a mysterious young woman (Bachleda) with his fishing net.
Romance ensues as we begin to know who the enigmatic Ondine actually is. Farrell works his underrated sensitivity to the most and he seems smitten by Ondine, but the leading lady lacks the charm to trap us as well. The lovely surroundings give the film an antique quality but Jordan's last act twist, in which he tries to have his fairy tale cake and eat it too, makes for a fishy finale.

Les amours imaginaires ***
Ondine **

4 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Oh yes, that ending on Ondine is just not very good, but I do like what comes before...and I'll always be cheering on Farrel.

CS said...

Les amours imaginaires has been on my “to see list” since September. I have been holding off seeing it as I wanted to watch Dolan's other film, I Killed My Mother, first. That one has been sitting on the PVR for several months now.

okinawaassault said...

Growing up with a working class adolescence, I can never fully sympathize with the main characters of Les Amours Imaginaires. I would never buy a $500 sweater for someone I met two months ago. I learned that lesson in Grade 9. And the two best friends seem to be cut in the smae cloth, no one stopping each other from taking their infatuations too far. But I guess that's not impossible.

muebles pinto said...

Here, I do not actually imagine it will have effect.