Saturday, December 31, 2005

Me, You And Our Collective Cynicism

Miranda July, a 31-year-old performance and video artist, made waves at international film festivals this year with her Me and You and Everyone We Know, the story of a shoe salesman and a…well, performance and video artist. American reviewers, a fastidious lot, have been raving about this film in their year-end lists, so I decided to check it out.

The film’s premise is pretty much like American Beauty’s – the demons that lurk beneath the picture-perfect American suburban life - but the treatment is very different. For one, MAYAEWK (all right?) is not a bleak satire in the mould of Sam Mendes’s movie. The lighting is better; there are no drug plots or sinister Army men, albeit there is an important sub-plot that hints at a probable Web-fuelled dystopia.

This review is not meant to be a bird’s eye view of the storyline, but I would like to mention my favourite character. It’s the protagonist’s little son Robby, played devastatingly well by 7-year-old Brandon Ratcliff (right). Watching him enact the bewildering dichotomy of childhood innocence against the Internet’s intrusive perversities is a revelation. Catch him in the crushing coup de grĂ¢ce when he finally comes face-to-face with his scatological chat-buddy.

And yes, you’d never imagine what the innocuous ))<>(( portends until you watch the movie. Of all the smileys, this!

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