Monday, February 12, 2007

Duck Season

This was a delightful comedy that flew under the radar in 2004. Perhaps the reason it was not as accessible was because it was entirely in Spanish (something I did not know before watching it). It seems that subtitled comedies don't do as well. I hesitate to call this a comedy, because there was only one moment I laughed aloud at- and this was after the credits. It's more a study of day to day problems, and how life is fun despite all of its bleakness.

The story follows two best friends, Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Catano) as they are left alone for the day. Things are going fine until a series of events starts happening. The power flickers on and off- disrupting their video-gaming, a neighbor teen, Rita (played strongly by Danny Perea) comes over to use their kitchen to bake a cake, and of course the pizza delivery man who won't leave (Enrique Arreola). There is some sort of discrepancy with his timeliness and payment.

The four of them spend the entire day together, forming a bond, but still not truly understanding each other. Over the course of the afternoon the two boys take another towards adulthood, Rita starts experimenting in several ways, and the pizza man starts to seriously rethink his life. It may be cliched in that everybody grows a bit, and learns something about themselves. At the end, however, you don't know if anything is going to change. It grows steadily more somber towards the end.

It's interesting how writer/director Fernando Eimbcke manages to paint four distinct characters and their lives all in the course of a single afternoon. I could easily see this as a stage production. He efficiently uses space to keep them as separate characters, but also as one unifying group.

I was surprised to learn that this was actually produced by Alfonso Cuaron (my pick for director of the year with Children of Men). This is significantly different and more low keyed than his normal projects (comparable to Steven Soderberg and his independent endeavour "Bubble"- which I'll probably review some time). The part that may prevent some people from enjoying this is certainly cultural differences. Subtle cultural humor can be lost on different audiences. I know there was a lot I did not understand. I think it focuses enough on the development of the characters to make it a strong film even if some of it goes over your head.



The Fighting Librarian said...

I know this is totally a minor part of your post, but I can just see you popping in the DVD, furrowing your brow, and thinking, "Huh. This movie is in SPANISH! Nobody TOLD me it was in Spanish."


bassoonchick said...

i loved the real bird don't puke little animation, it was very cute