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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Location: milwaukee, wi

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

MIFF: 13 Tzameti (Gela Babluani, 2005)

13 Tzameti was, along with Wristcutters: A Love Story (which I'm probably not going to be able to see after all, boo), one of the films that I was most excited about seeing at MIFF this year. As with many thing I've highly anticipated, I was a bit disappointed by the empty and rather predictable story. A young (hot!) carpenter named Sebastien is employed to work on a couple's roof; when the man dies, the wife refuses to pay Sebastien, and he takes an envelope containing a train ticket and hotel reservation as if in retribution. Little does he know that he has taken an invitation to a secretive competition where rich men bet on the lives of 13 competitors. Sebastien is the titular 13.

Basically nothing happens in the first half of the movie, and when Sebastien gets to the competition...more nothing happens. The movie is very, very tense, but the violence does not escalate like a good thriller should. The competition is the same, only for several rounds; for me, after the first round, the shock factor was gone. I commented in my head that it's like an artsy version of Hostel, with rich people buying the lives and deaths of others, only without the violence or terror. The black and white gives it an atmospheric touch, and the cinematography is beautiful, but I was not that impressed by the action of the film. The film's defenders would say that it is a trip into the sadism of modern life, and the depravity of the human soul; I would ask where those things are! Aside from the violence, there is no characterization of the betting men or even of the other competitors (except a little of Sebastien's main competitor). They are faceless people, which makes the terror unfamiliar and dull. Even Hostel gaves faces to its murderers! The tipping point for me, however, was the events after the competitions, which are predictable and made just to upset the audience.

As a debut film, Babluani's direction and script are good, but this film is so problematic that I really can't recommend it. If you're not desensitized to violence (like I think I am), however, you might find this shocking, as many in the packed audience I was in gasped several times. I, however, was not that interested.


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Comments on "MIFF: 13 Tzameti (Gela Babluani, 2005)"


Blogger Jenna said ... (6:05 PM) : 

Well said.


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