Tuesday, 17 November 2009

LEEDS FILM FEST REVIEW: Puccini and the Girl

OK, let’s not pretend to be anything other than honest here: I didn’t have a clue what was going on. But this doesn’t matter, as nor did anyone else!

It wasn’t overly stylised or pretentious, it was the lack of dialogue (other than through spoken letters and songs) and the numerous undefined characters that clocked up the confusion and left you feeling completely lost. But it was a good kind of lost to be.

This was a real filmmaker’s film, which wouldn’t look amiss on the syllabus of a film studies course. It was beautifully directed, with an arty elegant vision. In one shot the camera is strategically placed on the staircase so that the figure ascending is seen only as a shadow, and then as that disappears from eyeview it transposes into almost silhouette animation. It was a delight to watch.

At 84 minutes it’s a good length because as early as ten minutes into the film you begin to realise you’re not going to follow the storyline so it’s best to just sit back and enjoy the beautiful music, the idyllic beauty of Italy and the delicate and effective cinematography. You’ll need to jump on the internet straight afterward (“Ohhh, so that’s what was going on!”), but it’s definitely a worthy investment of your time and one of the most exquisite enigmas I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting through in the cinema.

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