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anglebender [Celluloid 12.08.07] review short

Year: 2007
Director: David Birnbaum
Writers: David Birnbaum
IMDB entry: link
Trailer: link
Review by: anglebender
Rating: 8 out of 10

As an old man spends the last of his energy to power a generator for the whole building, things take a turn for the strange in this timeless account of escape from servitude. An audition for a musical is taking place elsewhere in the building, and the fate of everyone rests on a single old man.

The Story:
It was a tone poem, and a very well told one, but I was hoping for more background or an explanation for what is going on. It's fun enough without any intelligible English; everyone speaks a nonsense/babble dialect I can't pin down, but it doesn't matter, you don't need to understand what they're saying. The dialog is just a colorful prop in the background. All the exposition takes place visually, and it all done very well.

The sense of wartime is conveyed by the sounds of shelling in the distance. It's all extremely bleak, but there's a silver lining in the characters. Motivations are straightforward and conveyed visually.

Character interactions seemed implied in this film, except for the old man in the basement riding the bicycle that generates power for the whole building. His position is anything but implied- he's definitely the main character. His plight is one that anyone can identify with.

Everyone else in the film is simply an archetype, but everything else revolves around the old man in the cellar, which I really liked. From this collection of personalities, the Old Man gathers most of his emotional momentum.

The Rating:
I wanted to give Mr. Birnbaum a 9, but I wanted more from this picture. It's a very moving tale: That's all I can rationally say about this film. Everything else is implied. Let me say that I hope a compilation of his works are released someday, and you'll see what I mean. This guy is really going somewhere.

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