A Chiaroscuro Pictures presentation. Produced, directed, written, edited by Elizabeth Dimon. Camera (Duart color, Super 16mm), Goran Pavicevic, Tom Robotham; music, Cyndi Lauper, Bill Whitman; art director, Jan Collins; sound, Anton Gold, John Garnett; associate producers, Gary Granger, Janet Cook. Reviewed at Cinevegas Film Festival, Las Vegas, June 14, 2003. Running time: 110 MIN.
With: Mirjana Jokovic, David Thornton, Tomas Arana, Richard Parent.
Aficionados of theater/cinema of the absurd will be the likeliest takers for NYU film school grad Elizabeth Dimon’s “Private Property.” Indebted stylistically to both Raul Ruiz and Emir Kusturica (whose “Underground” actress Mirjana Jokovic plays the lead role here), handsomely photographed but highly mannered pic carries the audience along on its tide of wildly unexpected twists and turns, before capsizing under the weight of too many subplots, shifts in tone and violations of internal logic (even by its own absurd standards). Pic will serve mainly as a calling card for Dimon, who evidences a strong visual sense.
Filmed entirely on Cape Cod, scenic pic opens with two gangland thugs (David Thornton, Tomas Arana) washing up on a private stretch of beach, where a beautiful art forger (Jokovic, who suggests a Slavic Mira Sorvino) may be harboring a sinister secret. The gangsters are guarding a valuable (but never seen) “creature” that accidentally breaks free from its cage; the “artist” claims that someone in her family has just died, though there’s no evidence to suggest this. Before the protracted conclusion, everyone tries to kiss or kill (or both) everyone else.