Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Strange Course of Events (2013)

Shaul is a hospital worker whose life isn't going anywhere. His wife has left him and taken his daughter and he is somewhat estranged from his dad. With some time off Shaul goes to visit his father for the first time in five years. Despite the best efforts of Bati, Shaul's stepmom father and son remain at odds, falling into old patterns. However when Shaul injures himself a way to connect turns up when Shaul's daughter arrives to take care of him.

Low key comedy drama is going to be a little too low key for some people; and perhaps too obtuse. Events spiral out without an explanation, there are a couple of moments of magical realism that come out of left field. While I have no problem with this, preferring a director to trust his audience rather then to spell it all out, the problem here is that the film has a kind of vacuum at it's center in that we don't really know Shaul. He's a moody fellow how doesn't say a great deal and we really don't understand why he and his dad don't get along, or even why he's so moody until almost the end, and even then it's only in a couple of lines. He says very little but never gives us any clues to who he is. If you can't connect to him the film is going to fall flat.

To be honest I'm not sure what I think of the movie. There are some really good performances and some lovely moments but at the same time the film has this insistence on keeping us at a distance, It doesn't say enough about the person at the center of the tale to allow us a doorway in. I completely understand that the film is about the walls we build between ourselves and other people and that we are supposed to be as adrift as the characters who are in the film, but at the same time we have to connect to something.

Probably the best thing I can say about the film is that it is very off beat and recommended for those who don't want a typical Hollywood style film or one with easy answers.

RaphaĆ«l Nadjari’s A Strange Course of Events on Friday, February 26, at Cinema Village in New York City

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