Monday, July 16, 2007

Conversations with Other Women (2005, Hans Canosa)

"A man and a woman meet at a wedding and spend a night together."

This film just blew me away. It never really interested me and I had only heard the title of it before but based on a friends recommendation I decided to check it out.

In the world of film geeks and buffs online the word "overrated" and "underrated" seem to get thrown around a lot to the point where when one of the two words is used there is not much of an impact. The two words just seem like a throwaway term that people use to show their "film cred" and to show how cool their opinion is where they can hate something thats popular or love something that not that many people do. As people keep using these terms for the same movies over and over again they have missed the point of actually supporting true "underrated" films that NO ONE has heard about, or at least very few people have. Conversations With Other Women is that film that is waiting to be discovered. It is that film that really deserves the title of being "underrated" It really is that good.

Conversations With Other Women really does live up to its plotline. It really is about a man and a woman meeting at a wedding and spending the night together. However as the film progresses we begin to get layers of depth to not only the characters but the plot itself. Everything is not what it seems and as you begin to figure things out little by little you become more invested in the storyline and characters to the point where when the 87 minutes are up you have felt a personal bond with the characters and story. Oh but there is also a gigantic catch to the whole film...

The whole film is in split screen and it is glorious.

The only previous film that I have seen before hand that tried to take on such a task was Timecode which was told in 4 screens at the same, and all of them being one long take from start to finish. Sadly though, that film did not deliver based on its premise and gimmick. In the end the film was just a gigantic gimmick that told a mediocre story and didnt take full use of the possibilites of have 4 frames going on at the same time.

However, this film delivers based on the gimmick. The director doesnt use split screen just to be different and get attention. Instead he manages to actually add layers of depth into the film based on this gimmick and turns it into anything but a gimmick. For example as one character is recalling a memory we see the memory play out on the other half of the screen or when one character is faking their emotion towards the other person we see their true feeling being played out on the other screen. The director knows the possibilities he could have had with doing the entire film in split screen and he takes full advantage of it. The split screen also serves a deeper purpose to the general themes of the film that is also handled just perfectly. It really is some great stuff to watch and admire.

The film is just solid all the way around. It is inevitable to compare it to Before Sunset/Sunrise but I wont go into that. I think the comparison is a compliment to the strength to the film and I have no problem watching another character driven film in that style. It has strong performances, a very strong script, and some incredible direction. It really deserves the title of being a criminally underrated and underseen film.

- A

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