The Loneliest Planet

Ennui Russian Style

         
 

26 October 2012| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Art house filmgoers will be anxious and it certainly isn’t for regular moviegoers who are in touch with love and happiness in their own lives. The cryptic The Loneliest Planet, a film for anti-establishment types who think too much, is an attempt by its Russian-American director Julia Loktev to do something really arty. Loktev is obviously influenced by Tarkovsky, Herzog, Denis, and von Trier (she demonstrates a good eye for single shots), but the imitation isn’t that good. It features long stretches and little dialogue of an engaged couple (Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) on a long hike in the Caucasus Mountains in the country Georgia. Very minimalist, with that baroque orchestral music that shrieks – very, very Russian style.

Here’s a director who knows the rhythms of avante-garde films without understanding the magic behind them. The long cuts are simply… long cuts. Teasing, exasperating, without suspending us in metaphorical thought or to force us to chew on anything meaningful. Finally, something happens (crazy mountain people! The end of peace and solace!). It gets chewy and meaningful, about time! This very loving couple, who we see in kissy-face glimpses, is put to the test of couple’s longevity. The man’s instinct is wrong, he corrects himself, but cannot forgive himself. The woman feels distanced from him. Because he torments himself for a single wrong, she will suffer too from bad communication.

How will they finish the rest of the hike knowing that their dedication to one another is not as foolproof as they once thought of each other? This isn’t the kind of film to give you a straight answer, nor is it one that inspires as big of an ambiguous question as he thinks it has. Even if you love head-splitting allegories it still might make you tap your watch. Werner Herzog would have liked these film locations, however.

113 Minutes. Unrated.

DRAMA / AVANTE-GARDE / WEEKEND FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Film Cousins: “Walkabout” (1971); “Deliverance” (1972); “Stalker” (1979, Russia); “Gerry” (2003).

 

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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