Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Talking Tribeca: Grey Matter

Grey Matter
Directed by Daddy Ruhorahoza
Festival Screenings

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from the Tribeca Film Festival. In no particular order, I present a look at one film per day. The Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 20th through May 1st.

A movie within a movie can often be just as intriguing as the movie itself. In some cases, it’s interwoven into the storyline, and in others, nothing more than a short segment is presented midway through a film or towards its end. In “Grey Matter,” a Rwandan filmmaker seeks government funding for his passion project and immediately declares his intent to begin production on his film even if he is refused. When the inevitable happens and he is denied, the film shifts perspectives and Balthazar’s movie takes center stage. What ensues is a dystopian story of a man who endures a harrowing prison stay while the world is overtaken by cockroaches and then cannot bring himself to remove his protective motorcycle helmet when the war has long been over and there is no longer any threat. There are bits and pieces of an intriguing tale here, but it’s covered at such a maddeningly slow pace that it’s hard not to be bored and long for some legitimate action. It’s clear from the opening scenes that Balthazar is dedicated to realizing his dream, but that doesn’t mean his dream project has any merit. Aside from some deliberate and careful camerawork, there isn’t much artistic creativity to be found here, and the film goes on for what seems like years, doing one thing if nothing else: putting its audience into the mindset of its film within a film’s protagonist, unable to escape the constant horror of a mundane repetition.

See it or skip it? Skip it, unless this sounds like your thing.

No comments: