Monday, May 21, 2012

Cannes '12 Review: "Chrysalis (AKA: From Your Window to Mine)" [Market]

Having already opened in its native Spain, Paula Ortiz's feature debut, a story about three women in different time periods in Spain enduring various forms of physical or emotional transition, is now looking for future distribution. But despite some nice performances and solid production values, it's difficult to see this one branching out too far across the continent, and an American release looks borderline impossible. It's evident that Ortiz is aiming for a rich, epic tapestry of emotional struggle across time, yet what emerges often feels half-baked, more noble failure than outright success. This isn't a case of a film being bad, but rather of a film being not good enough in comparison to similar work to merit any attention. Much of it is very pretty, but Ortiz's attempts at Malick-esque uses of landscapes fail to accomplish much outside of the scenes involving Maribel Verdu (Pan's Labyrinth, Y Tu Mama Tambien) struggling in the desert. Verdu and the cast are are always watchable, and in little moments even remarkable, but Ortiz's attempts to convey emotional turmoil often feel banal, sincere as they may be. A decent piece of work, it fails to linger in the memory in basically every department.

Grade: C

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