The MichaelVox Movie Review Weblog
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March 7, 2008
San Jose Cinequest Film Festival 18
Czech Republic
93 Minutes
Alice Nellis

One day in the life of a 40ish woman whose life is changing in dozens of ways, apparently spurned on by the death of Nina Simone. It walks a fine line between serious drama and whimsy. There are several scenes where extras break into dance routines for no reason. She looks around her city and sees order and precise steps. On the public transportation, everyone sways to and fro in syncopation. This is a fabulous performance by the lead actress, Iva Bittova, who is incredibly beautiful, but whose face shows all of her years of life. Her bright eyes and mischievous smile hint at the teenage girl she must have been. She wakes up early, is rejected sexually by her husband, and gets the idea in her head that she needs a piano, even though she hasn't played in 25 years. In the course of this day she breaks up with a younger, needy lover, visits a healer, connects with her teenage daughter, gets her car towed, and visits a music shop several times to secure the piano she needs. In a memorable and beautiful scene, the music shop owner, an anti-social man in his 20s with perfect emo hair watches Julie blossom while pretending to be a saleswoman. Shafts of light hit her, he hears music, and she begins dancing in slow motion, her beautiful hair spinning. In another scene she quietly sneaks into the store to watch him tear another piano up with some incredible classical music--what he lacks in people skill he more than makes up for on the keyboard.

They make quite a pair, the sexy older woman, and the shy musical genius. But are they a pair? She is at a crossroads in her life. New luxury apartment for the family, cold relationship with her husband, monogamy at risk, daughter about to head out on her own, age beginning to creep in. And the music is always there.



Out of all the ones I saw (which didn't end up being very much), I might have to choose this one as my favorite, though I'm choosing this one more for personal resonance than any other, more objective factors. I can relate all too well to Julie's ennui, and I remember very clearly how a certain musician's death (not Nina Simone) aided in my "emotional education." When I feel really unhappy about the way things are going in my life, I develop fixations (on things or people) to distract myself, but obviously, it never helps anything. I thought the actress who played Julie conveyed the complexity of her character quite gracefully. It seemed like much more than just a mid-life crisis to me (although, I really wouldn't know anything about having a mid-life crisis).

Likewise, for personal reasons, I hated "All About Dad" the most out of everything I saw. I think I've complained about this one enough to you, so I won't rehash it here. Suffice it to say that I was offended on behalf of my own parents.

By Blogger Ms. Ngo, at 10:08 PM  

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