Sunday, September 10, 2006

Unrequited Love at the Vancouver International Film Festival

Another of the upcoming treats of the Vancouver International Film Festival is Chris Petit's meditation on stalking, Unrequited Love. (Sorry, that last is just a link to a completely undescriptive IMDB listing -- if you have a good site for the movie, let me know). The film begins with a fascinating shot: we see a close up of an attractive blonde woman in her apartment, putting on makeup; the image is shakily shot on handheld video, and seems to promise a cheaply made film with little craft behind it -- until Petit pulls back to reveal that the "video" is being shot from OUTSIDE the woman's home, and that we've been spying through her window, though through whose eyes we are spying is unclear. It's the perfect opening, since the film deals not only with stalking but with the technology of voyeurism. Based on Gregory Dart's book of the same name, and starring Dart, the film chronicles a man's experiences of being stalked by a woman, who uses all sorts of modern technology to weave her web -- text messages, voicemail, email, and so forth; video cameras are employed to film both characters, tho' the film keeps us in the dark as to who, exactly, is filming whom, such that our own complicity as voyeurs is constantly called into question. It's a creepy experience and an interesting meditation on being stalked; stalkers are one point described -- I believe in Dart's words -- as "fundamentalists of love." An anciliary treat for film buffs is that Petit brilliantly revisits locales used by other famous films shot in London, as part of his consideration of cinema and the relationship of the captured image to voyeurism and stalking; the first is the best -- the most startling and pleasing to see -- tho' I'd rather not point out exactly which films is referenced, lest it spoil the fun ("Wait a minute, isn't that the same tree used in..."). Alas, I've been so busy pursuing a Pointed Sticks interview and a Subhumans interview that I actually couldn't quite finish the screener I was watching, so I'll be in attendance (hopefully unstalked) for the actual screening of this film, once the festival gets underway. By the way, more on Dart's book here.

In other news, a python that swallowed a gator in the Everglades has apparently exploded.

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