directed by Tatia Rosenthal
A stop-motion animation story about people living in a Sydney apartment complex looking for meaning in their lives.
(an user review from IBDM):
An Australian-Israel independent animation clay movie that tells the story of a group of lonely people living in the same block of apartments. The story is told, mainly through 28 year old unemployed Dave Peck, who buys books by post for only $9.99, one of them about the meaning of life. But we also see his depressive father, his disconnected brother, a commercial sexy model, an elderly widower, a father living with his only child, a young couple in crisis, an "angel", and a former magician.
This is a film for adults that examines adult themes (loneliness, immaturity, lack of love and purpose in life, lack of communication in society), with drug use, nudity and explicit sex scenes included. It also has some surrealist touches in between, that I found delightful.
The clay animation is very cartoonish in a way, odd-looking at first, but very original, with great movement and good facial expressions, realistic clothing and body language. I loved all the decoration of the flats, all the little details inside them, which help to draw visually the character of the people living in them. The city landscapes and city spots are also lovely. The colours and mood of the movie are excellent, and also the music.
The individual stories are great - fresh, believable, and poignant. They depict well the sins and deficiencies of modern society, and the social distress in which many people live. They also show real Australian characters and attitudes, those that you'd find in real world, in your own block of apartments. Raw Australia without sweetener.
The main problem of the movie is the lack of a real plot. In most cases we are just witnesses of the lives of those people, but we do not understand why are in a certain state or why they act in a certain way, what troubles them inside and moves them to act in a certain way - Lack of depth. Only after watching the movie, I learnt that the story is based in different short stories by Etgar Keret, which explains in part the lack of harmony of the film, and the disconnection of some of the individual stories. The scriptwriter is to blame for not finding an element that gives consistency to the whole film and not blending well the individual stories.
In fact, the aim of the movie might not be clear to the viewer. All the part about the purchase of books is unnecessary. Many people will think that the meaning of life is what the movie is all about, when in fact the movie shows that life does not have any meaning, at least for the characters of the story, and that life is what it is. So, why confusing the viewer with elements that don't add anything to the characters or the story line? I think it is a very interesting and original film with great characters that deserves to be watched despite its flaws.