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Thursday, October 21, 2010

BFI Film Festival: Womb

If I could pick a common theme for this year's BFI film festival, it would be Romantic Clone Dramas; that is a very particular subgenre indeed. Like Never Let Me Go, Womb is a romantic tale (or a fairytale as director Benedek Fliegauf described it in the Q&A afterwards) with a cloning twist. It stars the always lovely Eva Green as Rebecca, who loses her lover in a car crash. Like all women in her position, she makes the most sensible decision: she will clone him and give birth to him, duh! As years pass by, a certain affection develops between the mother and the child however, with some sensual (if not sexual) elements and the characters are forced with some hard decisions.

Benedek Fliegauf made some bold stylistic choices for the film, and they serve him well. There is minimal dialogue throughout the movie, which only helps solidify an otherwise flimsy script. The movie was filmed in its entirety in some amazing locations in the North German coast which (also according to its director) give the film a timeless feel. The scenery in fact has maybe the major part in the movie, often overshadowing its very capable performers. Max Richter's minimal and haunting score also adds to the film's impressionistic style. The cloning procedures and ethic decisions however do not seem to preoccupy the script - it's merely an opportunity for a twist on how to cope with the loss of a loved one. The ambiguous morality may leave some viewers unsettled at first, as well as the Oedipal overtones of the movie, but gradually the sincerity of the characters help shift the moral center of the movie towards a gray area, leaving intentions and questions unanswered - thankfully. Eva Green is given quite a lot to do, but she has proven her worth repeatedly in the past and handles the material very well. Matt Smith (a.k.a. the new Dr Who) is given an easier part, although he sometimes struggles to hit correct notes of his character. Finally, DP Péter Szatmári might be worth of recognition for his work in the film. 7/10

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