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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

entry arrow1:29 AM | Good Story, Bad Choices

I don't know what kind of brainstorming happened that paved the way to the final creative choices for Yair Hochner's Antarctica [2008], but parts of this Israeli film are godawful -- the horrendous title design, the hokey coffee house music, the casting of a transvestite to play the part of the mother, the inclusion of an alien invasion subplot, the cheap-looking cinematography, among others. Which is sad because the main story -- about five gay men and two lesbians whose lives unknowingly circle each other in Tel Aviv -- is actually quite interesting and most of the actors quite appealing and talented enough to give the film such a dramatic draw. It is thus a tragic disservice to their talents that they are framed in an enterprise that wastes their efforts with such inept sense of craft. What was Hochner thinking? The film begins with such edge -- an extended 15-minute intro full of in-your-face depictions of one-night stands centering on a guy named Boaz, who turns out to be a minor character. Instead, the film chooses, to our surprised delight, to follow the lives of his four tricks, as they stumble through each other's existences haphazardly -- through blind dates, coincidental meetings, and the like. What the story aims to do is to perhaps create a passable tapestry of gay lives in an Israeli metropolis, and in that regard it is successful. I was drawn in; I found their stories riveting. But to surround those stories with the unnecessary noise of inept filmmaking choices was too distracting for comfort. Which is just too bad.

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