Saturday, April 28, 2007

SFIFF 2007 Begins: Slumming

This is the third blog upon which my film ramblings have been posted. Blogger has a broader audience than LJ, thus the choice of platform. I hope it works well enough for folks. Slumming My SFIFF kicked off on an agreeably off-beat note with this Austrian film, about a young, bored man named Sebastian who uses his copious free time (and inherited wealth) to experiment upon various members of Viennese society. His greatest pastime is internet dating: he meets 6 or 8 women a day, mainly in order to collect pictures taken from under the table. At other times, he and his roommate like to partake in what they call "slumming": visiting dive bars and Turkish dance clubs, and messing with the locals. But of course, Sebastian can't go on like this forever, and he soon pulls a prank that goes to far, while simultaneously meeting a woman who he actually seems to like (or, as he puts, it "love", though that seems a bit of a stretch). The closest comparison I can come up with is Ghost World (especially the movie adaption), and the more I think about it, the more it fits. The pranksters are older (college-age instead of high school), but the carelessness with which Sebastian carries off his pranks really harkens back to that. Of course, these are Austrian guys, not American girls, so the attitude is meaner and more juvenile. It's neither as funny nor as touching as Ghost World. And in its latter third, the movie begins to move towards some sort of metaphysical statement about the oneness of its three main characters (Sebastian, his lover, and the prank victim) that comes off as a reach. As the first film of this festival, though, it worked well for me: not too difficult, yet interesting enough to be worth my time. Not particularly recommended, but it's a fine time.

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