In trading Mike for Cal, Fendt's second feature shrugs off Short Stay's t-shirted, mumblechromatic melancholy for a turtlenecked, hypersyllabic, technidolor dronecoat. But Evelyn, seemingly the one live soul in this wikicinema machine, is also its true star. Despite a couple of impressive feats of sustained regurgitation from Mr. Engime, Fendt's Straub/Huillet homage blows more smoke than it sheds or captures light.
Predicated on what might verge on a gratuitous display of scholarship, it may want in charm & humor otherwise. Each speaking part a citation, it could be well served by footnotes and a bibliography had it pushed the envelope. Likely appeal is to bibiliophiles & students taking up literature. But its comic-dramatic kernel is how the semblance of erudition masks the awkwardness of its young, inexperienced characters.
In his essay on Straub/Huillet, Tag discusses feeling "the weight of time in the shifting shadow, sunlight, air." One senses that Ted Fendt's understanding of how sun and shadow move through areas of Philadelphia allows him to get at something very similar.
Definitely my favorite of Fendt's films so far. So well balanced, and for a film that is very heavy in conversation, the pacing really moves it along. Fendt really makes a film that could easily become pretentious something which, is accessible and relate-able. The struggle of personal expression is real. How to respond in a conversation full of self indulgence? Oh and the Dick Cheney joke haha icing on the cake.
If you come to CP with an abundance of curiosity and empathy I don't see how you would not be rewarded. This is adorable. A work that finds love and respect in knowledge, not surprising the director is a critic! The patience afforded the actors & their monologues provides a space for goofy naturalism and reverence, but not without a dissenting factor that cracks the facade in Evelyn's admission. Lovely work.