Sunday, 10 February 2013

eversmile new jersey (d. carlos sorin, w. sorin, goldenberg & scheuer)

This is a curio. It features the most acclaimed Hollywood actor of our times. It's made in Patagonia. With everyone speaking English. Directed by someone who would wait 13 years to make his next film, but who would then go on to become one of the most acclaimed Argentine directors.

Watching Eversmile, you can undertand why Sorin hit a career lull in its wake. Perhaps conceived as a Wendersesque road movie, it feels like a collection of parts and ideas that add up to a film that never gets going. The fact that all its Patagonian characters speak dubbed English in strange accents doesn't help. The actors seem unsure of themselves and the script doesn't seem to know where it's going. In some ways its like a palimpsest for what would come later. A road movie built around the unlikely premise of a travelling Irish dentist, you can detect the crossover points where quirky new wave Argentine cinema and US indie cinema would later meet. (It's worth noting that one of the biggest Indie crossover hints of recent years, the schmaltzy Little Miss Sunshine, is a rip-off of Trapero's Familia Rodante.) Day-Lewis is allowed a few grandstand moments as the luckless dentist, including some trademark hollering scenes. On these occasions he seems to be enjoying himself but at other times his performance is as lost as those of the dubbed Argentines. 

It's hard to say whether the film's quality is a reflection of the state of Argentine cinema in the late eighites or the result of the fact that it's a botch-job caused by the fact this as international co-pro. (All the post was done in the UK). Whatever, the story has a happy ending, even if the film doesn't really have any ending at all. Day-Lewis became Day-Lewis. And Sorin set about the task of working out what it meant to be an Argentine director. In a way Bon-Bon El Perro is the same story as Eversmile, only with a dog instead of a girl as a travelling companion, everyone speaking Spanish, and much better made. The lesson would appear to be that you have to be prepared to have a few fracasos in order to find out what works and what doesn't work. Also, that the wheels of the film industry grind slow, and it pays to hang on in there.

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