Friday, 13 May 2011

Cannes Day 2: Labrador

Day 2 of Cannes was, admittedly, pretty difficult. Now, I’m okay with seeing four films in a day - I’ve even done six or seven back at TIFF, when running around the ScotiaBank Theatre is a breeze for
back-to-back screenings.

Maybe it’s the jetlag; maybe it’s the ever-present realization that there are still many two-and-a-half hour art dramas, just waiting to be debated. Hooray! I saw one effective movie (We Need To Talk About Kevin), one offensively dreadful movie (Polisse), and one silly and disappointing movie (Restless).

But I also saw a gem of a film. It’s a shame – it went completely unnoticed.

Labrador (Out of Bounds) is that gem.

 I already blogged about Kevin. We Need To Talk About Labrador. As of my current Twitter search, there are only three other posts that mention Labrador, other than mine.

This is because films that aren’t in Competition (especially films that are in the “Special Screenings” division of the Official Selection aren’t really "important." I kind of understand that, but it’s still a little strange to see a great movie amidst a slew of nonsense and not have it register on any sort of radar. Whatever. People are on Palme Patrol, which means they aren’t looking for anything else than
the winners. I get it, but it’s still a little sad.

Labrador is barely seventy minutes long, including both opening and closing credits. That means this film runs along with all four legs, and doesn’t stop until it hits you that there’s some seriously strange
family connections being established here. I don’t want to spoil anything when it eventually comes to TIFF (I presume), but the basic plot is an on-again, off-again couple that goes to an isolated island to meet the girlfriend’s dad, a happily-hermited artist who lives with his dog and painted frescos.

Dad’s pretty cranky, and he doesn’t like the boyfriend of his daughter. He doesn’t hide that. But the boyfriend is a journalist with a keen eye, and smells something fishy. No, not the herring that’s stored in the dilapidated hermit hut. That’s all I’ll say, especially since the film is shorter than waiting in line for a movie here.

Needless to say, some out-of-nowhere twists turn this low-concept
family drama into a briskly basic piece of movie greatness. Check it
out if (or when) you can.

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