Borderlands (Zev Berman, 2007): 6.5/10

The Magic Flute (Ingmar Bergman, 1975): 7/10

La Guerre Est Finie (Alain Resnais, 1966): 7/10

Speed Racer (The Wachowski Brothers, 2008): 8/10

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Traveling Companion (Peter Del Monte, 1996)

Traveling Companion is another movie I rented just because of Asia Argento. It didn't hurt, either, that I heard Asia won the Italian equivalent of the Best Actress Oscar for her performance. I was impressed with Asia's performance, as she's never really shown her chops in many other roles. As Cora, a 19-year old cocktail waitress whose life is really going nowhere, Asia plays the role as blankly as you would expect someone like Cora to be in the first two-thirds, but really develops ad blossoms in the third act.

Cora is hired by a friend to follow the friend's father, Cosimo, a 70ish former professor who is in what seems like the advanced stages of Alzheimers. After a few days of following Cosimo around the city, making sure that he gets home alright, Cora has to follow him on a train to other towns around Rome, as he is apparently trying to take a bird as a birthday gift to an old friend. Nothing much actually happens in the film; Cora and Cosimo eventually begin traveling together, and Cora gives up trying to get him back to Rome and instead lets him finish his mission. This all unravels in the third act, when Cora realizes that Cosimo is not just forgetful and is actually sick, and the results are devastating.

Cora, in her relationship with Cosimo, becomes a deeper, different person than she was at the beginning of the film. In the last scenes, the audience knows just as well as Cora what she is going to do next, which is not very well at all. Argento is great at bringing out the vulnerability and toughness, often at the same time, in Cora, and makes her more than a floozy waitress. My main problem with the film is that the first two thirds are slow; nothing actually happens, and alongside that, there are several very unresolved and sort of annoying subplots that make no real sense. Argento's performance is very strong, and for someone like me, who has a close relative with advanced Alzheimers, it is touching and frustrating to see Cosimo's confusion and Cora's reaction, but the slowness prevents me from recommending it to everyone.


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