Daily Archives: March 10, 1995

Frameup

Subtitled 12 Movements to the Only Conclusion, this is the last feature made by virtuoso low-budget independent Jon Jost (All the Vermeers in New York, Sure Fire) before he split for Europe in 1993, and once you see it you’ll know why he left. A highly stylized, extremely sarcastic, and sexually explicit road movie about an ex-con and a former waitress on a motel-strewn path to crime and oblivion through Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and northern California, it’s a technical tour de force devoted to the shallowness of the couple and the beauty of the landscape. It’s boldly conceived and brilliantly executed, with an interesting semijazz score by Jost regular John A. English, though the whiny delivery of the heroine will probably grate on your nerves (as it was no doubt meant to do) and the highly distanced treatment of both characters, which periodically turns them into zombies, has none of the usual Hollywood consolations. If you think Natural Born Killers was innovative and avant-garde, try this nasty piece of work. With Howard Swain and Nancy Carlin. A U.S. premiere. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday, March 10, 7:00 and 9:00; Saturday and Sunday, March 11 and 12, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00; and Monday through Thursday, March 13 through 16, 7:00 and 9:00; 281-4114.… Read more »

Exotica

This may be the best of writer-director Atom Egoyan’s slick, Canadian carriage-trade productions (the other two are Speaking Parts and The Adjuster), though it’s also a regression, both formally and thematically, compared to his previous film, Calendar. The central location–a triumph of lush, imaginative set design–is a sort of strip club where young female dancers sit at male customers’ tables and verbally cater to their psychic needs; at the center of this faux-tropical establishment is an odd little house where the club’s pregnant owner hangs out with the jaundiced announcer (Egoyan regulars Arsinee Khanjian and Elias Koteas), voyeuristically overseeing the voyeuristic clientele. The main customer is still mourning the death of his young daughter, and other significant characters include a dancer who sits at his table, a baby-sitter, and an eccentric smuggler whose path briefly crosses that of the bereaved father. As a narrative this is something of a tease, building toward a denouement straight out of Freud; its structure both benefits and suffers from Egoyan’s customary splintered focus and repetition compulsion, and there’s an unmistakable sadness in its pornographic luster. But as mise en scene it’s rich and accomplished–for better and for worse, a place to get lost in. Fine Arts.… Read more »