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Lake Tahoe


Stars: Diego Catano, Hector Herrera, Daniela Valentine, Juan Carlos Lara, Yemil Sefami

Director: Fernando Eimbcke

Leisurely to the point of paralysis and boasting an almost entirely static camera to observe the lack of action, so that when there is a tracking shot you almost bound out of your seat with shock (assuming, that it, you are still awake) Lake Tahoe (the point of the title only emerges pointlessly at the ‘climax’ of the tediously anticlimactic affair) is as arty an ‘art film’ as you could hope to miss.

Why an ‘art film’? Because (a) it is subtitled (art films do not really exist in English to the devoted cineaste), (b) it is beautifully photographed, thus enabling reviewers to write/talk about the luminous/sensuous/eclectic etc, etc, etc cinematography and (c) it is unlikely to be seen by enough people to have viewers accusing reviewers of suffering from the endemic (where art movies are concerned) ‘Emperor’s Clothes’ syndrome.

The plot follows dull Mexican teenager Catano as he spends a long, long day waling the near deserted streets of a small town in Yucatan in search of a spare part for his crashed car, a stalactite-slow odyssey that finds him befriending a guard dog, sleeping with a teenage single mother, being befriended by a Martial Arts obsessed mechanic but, mostly, walking across the screen in front of a static camera from right to left and then, for variety, from left to right. In a nutshell, short vignettes, overlong film.

“I will always prefer a well-made piece of bread over a three-level fancy cake with lots of icing and stuffed with fruit and decorations” says director Eimbcke. Sorry to say, I found his loaf stale and indigestible. Given time, his film could replace all conventional anaesthesia.

Alan Frank

Mexico 2009. UK Distributor: Yume Pictures. Colour.
81 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 29 Jun 2009