Eros (15)

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

Tue Sep 19 2006

Portmanteau pictures rarely add up to more than the sum of their parts and, despite offerings from three exceptional filmmakers, ‘Eros’ is no exception. The theme is desire – a comfortable mode for Wong Kar-Wai, whose ‘The Hand’ offers a miniature version of his swooningly gorgeous, chronologically choppy impressionism. Chang Chen plays the apprentice tailor bowled over by Gong Li’s imperious ’60s courtesan, to whom he remains a devoted supplicant for decades despite a reversal of fortune. The almost stifling interiority – shadowed faces, overheard conversations – lends a heady sensuality and Wong’s way with memory, yearning, costume, colour and Canto-pop is impeccable, though by now familiar.

Set in 1955, Soderbergh’s chamber piece ‘Equilibrium’ is by some way the lightest of the three. Robert Downey Jr is a neutoric ad exec with recurring dreams about a woman who isn’t his wife; Alan Arkin is his indifferent psychoanalyst, who has a thing for a woman across the way. Shot in noir-ish B&W, it boasts great comic performances from the preoccupied leads and funny, if inconsequential, dialogue.

You can only wish for a grain of such light-heartedness from the nonagenarian Italian, to whom the other films are dedicated. ‘The Dangerous Thread of Things’ is quite as portentously fatuous as its title, offering one pouty man, a couple of naked women (sometimes writhing beneath a waterfall, sometimes on the beach) and a phallic tower topped by a metal cock. Riddled with bitterly hollow laughter and thuddingly symbolic dialogue (‘The horses escaped again. I have to bring them home...’), at least it gets out of doors with some pretty scenery. Better, though, to be cooped up with Wong.

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