Friday, June 16, 2006

2006 FRAMELINE XXX—El Cielo Dividido (Broken Sky)

In his follow-up to the incandescent A Thousand Clouds of Peace, Mexican director Julián Hernández channels Tsai Ming-Liang with a notable and effective eschewal of dialogue. Cinnoman skin and briefs constitute the bulk of the wardrobe and atmospheric references to water abound (rain, showers, tears). Hernández even incorporates an intertitular tip of the hat to Apichatpong Weerasethakul about a third of the way into the film. Other than for these obvious homages, however, the film is uniquely (and poetically) his own.

Featured in the Panorama section of the 2006 Berlinale, Zlatko Vidackovic's FIPRESCI write-up honors the film's essential erotic melodrama expressed via body language. "[T]he characters talk with their eyes, with their movements." Frameline's program capsule likewise stresses these sensual semiotic balletics.

What evolves is a guided meditation on first love, which is always painfully remembered for its singular intensity, its instruction on betrayal, and its saturation of wishful recapitulation. The movie is long but elegant, screening only once on Wednesday, June 21, 9:15 p.m. at Frameline's newest venue, Cinéarts@Empire. Possibly already sold out.

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