Friday, June 9, 2023

Playland (2023) Tribea 2023

Imagine what would have happened if  Lina Wurtmuller and Rainer Werner Fassbinder made cinematic essay about a legendary gay bar in Boston  using the styles of Wes Anderson and Peter Greenaway and then you might have an idea of what PLAYLAND is. It’s a cinematic piece of art that is going to delight some and bore others.

The film is a look inside the Playland bar in Boston which was home to a thriving gay community for decades. Closed down by the city and due to be demolished, director Georden West brought in various people to repopulate the bar one last time. Mixing tableaus in the bar with news stories on the bar and remembrances with people who were there the film is one of a kind cinematic piece of art. There is no real narrative such but a heavy sense of mood. We are left to piece the various bit together into something. How do the two guys who work in the kitchen tie to the waitress in the silver sequined dress? That’s for us to sort out.

If you can get on the films artistic wavelength then there is going to be enjoy. Largely visual I found myself searching each image looking for hidden details and even watched the film a second time just to enjoy the images.

As much as I like the film I do think the film kind of runs out of steam on the other side of the halfway point. While I still enjoyed the images, the lack of “narrative” had me checking my watch.

Reservation aside, PLAYLAND will still delight anyone who is ready for it’s one unique charms.

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