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BERLINALE 2011 Competition / DE-AR-UY

An unremarkable man in A Mysterious World

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An unremarkable man in A Mysterious World

Argentinean director Rodrigo Moreno’s A Mysterious World , co-produced by German company Rohfilm and shown in competition at the Berlinale, left festival-goers well and truly baffled.

The film opens and closes in a bored couple’s bed. It starts with Ana, who is weary of her insipid relationship with Boris, asking for "a period" of separation (the use of the indefinite article is important here, as it is in the title), without specifying what length of time she has in mind, much to Boris’ annoyance.

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We then start to closely follow the silent and idle Boris, whose impassive face is inscrutable, as he roams about, often alone in an old Romanian car, sometimes on the bus where he watches women, sometimes accompanied by thirty-somethings who seem to have no job either, no real passion, no pinning down in space or time. Moreover, the only clue that the story is set in the present day are certain objects, chiefly their mobile phones, for the rest of the scenery, clothing and music hark back to several decades ago, perhaps to the time when New Wave films depicted a certain bourgeois apathy.

While Boris unenthusiastically kills time (this idea of evading reality is also coupled with the motif of subterfuge and disguise), viewers really feel time pass. By way of entertainment, Moreno offers us only one or two funny characters who have a more ironic attitude to this dull life – at the bookshop, Boris’ only friend with a sense of humour says to him: "Oh really, nothing happens in his second novel? So much the better, imagine if he only wrote best-sellers!".

Finally, after a failed New Year party, Boris returns to Ana’s house as if nothing had happened. This "time" apart she had requested, to see what would happen, turns out to be pointless in an insipid world where time, left unfilled, doesn’t pass and leaves the characters in a constant state of waiting.

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(Translated from French)

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