It lurches occasionally into the realm of the obvious but overall, this is an absorbing, energetic essay that has a startling melancholy to it. The section on the submerged spa resort of Epecuen is particularly interesting as a counterpoint to Geyrhalter's Homo Sapiens, where it appears after the waters have receded. A very impressive debut film.
This is actually really good. The first part is a real incisive story around an hotel, with unbelievable amounts of surprises. The second an anthropological study of beach behaviors. The final analytic part flooded city / ode to water/with Zucco the artist is a good ending -- here was what happens; here is how society represents it -- but a bit less convincing. All contrasting with the final bather (of yore)?
I agree with some other comments that the Zucco part doesn’t bring much to the film. Without it, this would’ve been a perfect 50 minutes cinematic essay on one obscurity of our time, a perfect mix of visual nostalgia and ironic AND smart voiceover commentary. The second part blew me away, I was all smiles and couldn’t believe how ingenious it was. But Zucco and his art... I could’ve stopped there.
Meanders lovingly through the past and the present. Then the second half of the film dwells on one character, Zucco, who seems to have impressed the filmmaker more than the viewers. Worth watching, nonetheless. If you are watching on Mubi, you can turn it off when you get to the Zucco part. You won't have missed much. And Zucco won't care, he is quite confident in his immortality and posterity.
More than a treat in itself, though I really enjoyed it, this is a gem of form; of how to apply the rich (relatively cheap) narrative magic of editing & post as much as possible to the documentary, and of how tone & truth might best adapt in turn. Which is actually a pretty heavy thing to do so lightly, & with such finesse. A mix of nostalgia, irony, poetic truth & insistent sociological relevance. Solid achievement.
It opens with a strong abstract, a promise to link cultural identity with beach resorts in a manner that seems academic but promising. What follows is a different film, shaggy and playful, but aeons from the wit and warmth of Varda. I mostly find it tiresome, looking and sounding ugly, with an ill-advised mockumentary middle that some might find endearing rather than sneering.
3.5. This was a 4/4.5 until the Zucco episode, which was where I started to disconnect. Prior to that, a stylish, witty observational piece with a great narrative that was both interesting and entertaining. It's funny how much beach resorts have in common from Southport to South America!
Loved the first couple segments. Wonderful visual explorations of the seashore as "liminal zone." The first segment wittily covered the ground of those hyper-lit-crit essays on the theory of the leisure class, but without having to read dense pages of psychoanalytic name-dropping. The segment on Zucco was the weakest link, though his sculptures are fantastic creations.
Don't ask me to define it or explain why this movie is awesome: I loved it! I enjoyed the different stories as much as the multiple ways of storytelling, in form and style, the playful chaos; the jazz 'manouche' music that made me want to dance. I laughed at the catalogue of beach-people/summer holidays stereotypes, the funny obsessive nonsense collection of kitsch souvenir and Dr Zucco's ocean inspired art... [2bc].
Utterly average documentary for people who have never had an original thought in their heads. Nothing to see here (unless you never question why you go to beach resorts). Like a public service announcement without the historical intrigue or obscure artistic sensibilities. Middle of the road at best. Sounds like it was recorded in a drain - this is probably the most interesting thing about it...
(1.5 stars) Enjoy your beach resort documentary. People who like that sort of thing, knock yourselves out. Enjoy. Interesting opening story. Interesting artist story later on. A documentary that was completely unneeded by me. Entirely uneven in tone and narrative. Not even sure who this is for. So bored with people filming something with no great purpose. Ugh.
Great! Funny and fascinating. Catchy soundtrack, and the voice-over guides us smoothly through stories that are quirky but true, with interesting reflections as we go along. A bit too much of Zucco at the end maybe, but then he is pretty big, both in stature and personality. Worth watching.