FILM ARCHIVES

Film

by

MOMA’s celebratory glut of film premieres enters its second week. The biggest name on the slate is Theo Angelopoulos, but the Greek tragedian’s The Weeping Meadow (December 1 and 4), the first of a century-spanning trilogy, is a bloated disappointment. Though not as windy as Eternity and a Day, this three-hour historical dirge about a woman’s heartrending life between the world wars suffers from a near-total absence of character depth and narrative urgency.

In stark contrast, this week’s two finds are decidedly low-key and low-budget (both will be distributed next year by Global Film Initiative). From Uruguay, Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s Cannes favorite Whisky (December 4) wrings all affect from a sitcomy premise—a sad-sack sock manufacturer asks an employee to pose as his wife while his brother visits—and inches almost imperceptibly from deadpan humor to deadpan melancholy. A prizewinner at Vancouver, first-timer Diao Yinan’s DV-shot Uniform (December 2) is slyly based on the premise that you are what you wear. Young and out of work in a small, modernizing Chinese town, the disaffected hero gets his hands on the titular garment and starts impersonating a cop. An accomplished piece of Jia Zhangke–style realism, it doubles as a potent allegory of a spiritually uprooted generation’s identity quest.

Highlights