BASTARDS AND BRIDESMAIDS
DIRECTOR: EDDY TERSTALL
COUNTRY: Netherlands 1996
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Stefan Bijnen, Willem Nagtglas
MUSIC: Madame Domo, Silkscreen
CAST: Marlis Bark, Arthur De Boer, Femke De Brouwer, Daan Ekkel, Nadja Hupscher, Rifka Lodezen, Jurgen Tjon a Fong, Marc van Uchelen
SUPER FEATURES: Story is clever. Tricky ending.
As with other recent films from the Netherlands, this film also displays what may be happening in that film community. It is clear that these films do not have a large budget for their production, but once again, the focused work of the director and actors, has compiled another pleasant film to watch, even if the situation itself is tricky, and not exactly pleasant. But along the way, we also get some laughs at the expense of a few of the comic clowns in the production, the ones that know it all.
It is the story of Dmitri, who happens to like Esther. Esther happens to like another guy, who is tough on her and she dumps for another guy who is less interested in her than he is in another woman that does not pay too much attention to him. In turn she happens to like Dmitri, but he happens to like Esther. And the film tries to see what happens with each other as they go through their daily affairs and lives.
Dmitri has a friend, who is married who thinks he is a know it all, and never misses a chance to put down his wife/girlfriend in front of her, when they are in bed, it seems the only time that Dmitri calls. In the end, this friend makes a rather serious mistake, or perhaps he has said one comment too many that infuriated his wife, or girlfriend. But in between, Esther finds herself in the middle of abuse relationships, which she discusses with a psychoanalyst sort of guy that does foot massages for her.
if anything, the film makes a point of only commenting on the side of any relationships which are not honest. Dmitri, has one ting going for him. He does not lie, and while he enjoys the new found relationship with Susan, whose boyfriend is kicked out of the house, and finds his way to Esther's arms, he is also about to enter into their realm of a dishonest relationship, if the end of the film is any indication. Dmitri and Esther have a form of "score" game set up, to challenge each other. However, this game has never gotten him anywhere with her, and more than likely will not in the future as well. But the other relationships are not resolved either, which tends to suggest that this film is a sort of "day in the life of ... " and lets us make our own judgments at each character's expense.
As a statement on the youngsters inability to resolve their own relationships, in lieu of some sex, this film could come off as a serious commentary on a society that works on its personal satisfaction much more than it does on the meaning of its connections. Everyone is affected and hurt in some way or another, since they really lack an old fashioned commitment to their friends, and loved ones. And the one that does, is intrigued by a person that has little respect for her anyway. Thus the film suggests that we really can not make decisions, when we do not look at these situations, and even when the situations seem right, that we are afraid to enter into them, for some oddball reasons... such is the case for Esther.
Interesting acting is found on all sides. An active camera keeps the film alive, and prevents it from getting boring, or from falling into the dreaded hip syndrome that many independent/cult films fall into. it allows its characters and actors to live their "fantasy" and merely seems to follow them as they go from day to day. One even has a hard time finding a bad "shoot" moment in this film, or one that does not fit into the film style and people. It's as if we were a person right in the middle of the action, which in this case works.
A nice, carefully worked film, although it offers a slight in-conclusion, it does suggest by its manner that this particular generation is really confused, and lacks focus on what they can love or not. And love is definitely confused with sex here. One gets the idea that Dmitri only really wants to go to bed with Esther, and she gets upset with that thought, although she does not say that to the others that go for her body anyway, and couldn't careless about her feelings.
Very well used music throughout the film. Used to accentuate a moment.
3 of 5 GIBLOONS
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