Sunday, January 8, 2012

Patric Chiha's DOMAIN--from last year's Film Comment Selects--opens theatrically

No less than one of our own favorite transgressive filmmakers, John Waters, has declared the movie under consider-ation today -- DOMAIN, from Vienna-born filmmaker Patric Chiha (shown below), who now works in France -- his favorite film of 2010. First seen in New York last year as part of the annual Film Comment Selects series via the FSLC, it is finally being given a theatrical opening here in New York (and perhaps elsewhere). No world-beater, the movie's still worth seeing, particularly for those buffs with a taste for the gay or outré.

Starring the still-gorgeous star of Betty Blue, the ever-exotic Béatrice Dalle (on poster above, and below), this is a quieter and much less transgressive movie that you'd imagine (given Mr. Waters' history, though perhaps not his taste in film) as it tracks the evolving and devolving relationship between an older woman (a mathematician with an alcohol problem) and her young nephew (played by an interesting newcomer Isaïe Sultan, two photos below), who is probably gay and definitely attracted to the "otherness," as well as the sophistication, of his aunt's circle of friends.

The film is particularly smart about the manner in which youth and age perceive the world and how callous the former can sometimes be about the latter, perhaps simply for purposes of its own survival.

At times, the film may remind you of a very French Auntie Mame, were Auntie losing it and her nephew Patrick old enough (and with taste enough) to choose her clothes for an evening out. As often happens in French film, there is so much going on -- philosophically, emotionally, even family-wise (the boy's mother and her sister are not close) -- that little can come to full fruition in the mere course of the time frame that the movie offers us.

Nonetheless, the writer/director shows us the seasons as beautifully and richly as he captures character, and if the film is somewhat slow-paced and typically French in its insistence on little exposition, it still offers mature audiences much to mull over, during and post-viewing.

From Strand Releasing, with a running time of 110 minutes, Domain opens in New York City this coming Friday, January 13, at the IFC Center. If TrustMovies can learn where else you can see this interesting film -- prior to DVD, VOD and other at-home or on-the-run viewing -- he'll add it to this post.

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