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Souvenir

Brevity is the primary virtue of musicvideo helmer Michael H. Shamberg's feature debut, but even at 74 slim minutes the scarcely penetrable experimentalism of primarily English-language, Paris-shot "Souvenir" seems awfully attenuated.

Cast:
With: Stanton Miranda, Manon Blanc, Kristin Scott Thomas, Melvil Poupaud, Hugues Quester, Laurence Cote, Serge Avedikian, Geoffrey Carey. Voices: Christina Ricci, Adam Hann-Byrd, Linda Bove, Priscilla Reeves.

Brevity is the primary virtue of musicvideo helmer Michael H. Shamberg’s feature debut, but even at 74 slim minutes the scarcely penetrable experimentalism of primarily English-language, Paris-shot “Souvenir” seems awfully attenuated. Despite marginal participation from Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci, this looks unlikely to travel beyond a few fests and avant-garde showcases.

Pic is meant to be a portrait of displacement — that of a heroine portentously named Orlando (Stanton Miranda) as an American sports journalist living in Paris, and as a survivor of paternal childhood abuse and incestuous relations with a late brother. But precious little insight is evoked as she wanders dazedly around the rainy city; nor are the film’s often blurry, mannered , multiformat visual and near-arbitrary aural fragmentations very prepossessing. Pretentious verbiage (“Architecture is the art of loneliness,” “How nice it would be to see a cow giving birth”) adds to the overall turgidity. Chris Marker contributes computer graphics, and notable Anglo and Gallic thesps appear fleetingly — Scott Thomas’ crisp professionalism briefly enlivens things in one monologue as Orlando’s concerned boss, while Ricci is limited to voiceover as protag’s younger self.

Souvenir

Production: A Cascando Studios production. Produced, directed, written by Michael H. Shamberg. Executive producers, Edward Richardson, Skip Lievsay, Lawrence Weiner, Liz Sobolewski. Co-producers, Joana Vicente, Jason Kliot, ISKRA.

Crew: Camera (color), James Herbert; editors, Laura Israel, Kristina Boden, David Frankel, Lars Vinther; production designer, Marta Wengorovius. Reviewed at Mill Valley Film Festival, Oct. 11, 1999. Running time: 74 MIN.

With: With: Stanton Miranda, Manon Blanc, Kristin Scott Thomas, Melvil Poupaud, Hugues Quester, Laurence Cote, Serge Avedikian, Geoffrey Carey. Voices: Christina Ricci, Adam Hann-Byrd, Linda Bove, Priscilla Reeves.

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