A Shellac (in France) release of a Sociedade Optica Tecnica (Portugal)/Red Star Cinema (France) production, in association with Cinematrix. (International sales: Red Star Cinema, Paris.) Produced by Abel Ribeiro Chaves, Maria de Lurdes Oliveira. Coproducers, Sebastien de Fonseca, Cedric Walter. Directed by Pedro Costa.
With: Jeanne Balibar, Rodolphe Burger, Herve Loos, Arnaud Dieterlen, Marco de Oliveira, Joel Theux, Fred Cacheux, Francois Loriquet, Vincent Leterme, Francoise Rondeleux.
Locations shift between a Parisian studio and a Tokyo cafe, though Costa offers no exposition. Unfortunately, the songs — with openers such as "You're torturing me" or "Pain in vain" — are generally of the music-to-slit-your-wrists-by variety, rarely catchy enough in dissected form to sustain the maddening repetitions. On ballads, Balibar's voice has a breathy, sensual quality, but she has neither the training nor the pipes to tackle Offenbach's "La Perichole." Visuals can be striking, occasionally abstract, the screen filled with blacks offset by sharp white points or lines. Auds will have the urge to flick on a switch, but then it wouldn't be "Art."Camera (B&W), Costa; editor, Patricia Saramago; music, Rodolphe Burger, Jacques Offenbach. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 15, 2009. French dialogue. Running time: 103 MIN.