Daily Archives: July 23, 1993

Chain of Desire

While nothing major, this soft-core daisy chain of sexual linkages and loosely connected dramatic sketches about life in contemporary Manhattan, written and directed by Temistocles Lopez, is fun, mainly for its cast and playful form. This form has been compared by some critics to La ronde, but more apt cross-references might be The Leopard Man, The Phantom of Liberty, and Slacker. The cast includes Linda Fiorentino, Elias Koteas, Patrick Bauchau, Angel Aviles, Grace Zabriskie, Malcolm McDowell, Jamie Harrold, Tim Guinee, Dewey Weber, Holly Marie Combs, Seymour Cassel, Sabrina Lloyd, Assumpta Serna, and Suzzanne Douglas; the sexual preferences include straight and gay, diverse forms of adultery, bondage, discipline, phone sex, voyeurism, and masturbation. The New York regionalism–the conviction that the city is the hub of the universe–adds to the energy as well as the unwarranted self-importance; don’t expect too much and you’ll probably be entertained. Music Box, Friday through Thursday, July 23 through 29.… Read more »

Afro-Pop [MOZART QUARTER]

From the Chicago Reader (July 23, 1993). — J.R.

MOZART QUARTER

*** (A must-see)

Directed and written by Jean-Pierre Bekolo

With Serge Amougou, Sandrine Ola’a, Jimmy Biyong, Essindi Mindja, Atebass, and Timoleon Boyongueno.

I cannot tell a lie. I couldn’t follow all the plot details of Mozart Quarter – Jean-Pierre Bekolo’s delightful comic fantasy about contemporary sex relations in a working-class neighborhood in Yaounde, Cameroon — even after I saw it a third time. Some of my confusion was probably due to the subtitler’s effort to render part of the French African dialogue in American inner-city slang — an understandable goal, but one that sometimes sacrifices lucidity for superficial familiarity and occasionally produces outright gibberish. Another problem is that certain Western cultural artifacts have meanings specific to the oral story-telling culture out of which Mozart Quarter arises.

Yet this wasn’t an obstacle to my enjoyment of the film, which is playing five times this week at the Film Center; on the contrary, it operated more as an incentive. If the common liberal error in understanding non-Western societies is to assume they’re exactly like us and the common conservative error is to assume they’re nothing like us, any movie that confounds both sides is bound to have a few things to teach us.… Read more »