In the Cities

In general, depressed people shouldn't be allowed near sharp objects or movie cameras, and helmer Catherine Martin is no exception. "In the Cities" is so caught up in depicting the woes of humanity that it loses sight of what it is to be human, resorting to nearly 90 minutes of tears interspersed with ponderous dialogue, delivered as if every line has the weight of the world attached.

With:
With: Helene Florent, Robert Lepage, Helene Loiselle, Eve Duranceau, Beatrice Picard, Markita Boies.

In general, depressed people shouldn’t be allowed near sharp objects or movie cameras, and helmer Catherine Martin is no exception. “In the Cities” is so caught up in depicting the woes of humanity that it loses sight of what it is to be human, resorting to nearly 90 minutes of tears interspersed with ponderous dialogue, delivered as if every line has the weight of the world attached. Occasional attractive compositions can’t sustain interest in the tedious characters, all near-neighbors drowning in sorrow. Even fest play will be limited.

Tree doctor Fanny (Helene Florent) cries each night for all the people who can’t cry themselves, including elderly, isolated Josephine (Helene Loiselle) and deeply depressed Carole (Eve Duranceau). Only blind Jean-Luc (Robert Lepage) isn’t suicidal, but he’s hardly real either, less a multifaceted character than an allegory of blindness both helmer Martin and Fanny have fallen in love with. Figures are placed in physical and emotional vacuums where not a whiff of humor is allowed to disturb the proceedings, though final credit, “No trees were harmed in the making of this movie,” is sure to raise whoops of laughter.

In the Cities

Canada

Production: A Coop Video de Montreal production, with the special collaboration of Films Ex Aequo. (International sales: TVA Films, Montreal.) Produced by Real Chabot. Executive producer, Lorraine Dufour. Directed, written by Catherine Martin.

Crew: Camera (color), Carlos Ferrand; editor, Natalie Lamoureux; music, Robert Marcel Lepage; production designer, Gaudeline Sauriol; costume designer, Sophie Lefebvre; associate producer, Stephanie Juaneda. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 13, 2007. French dialogue. Running time: 87 MIN.

With: With: Helene Florent, Robert Lepage, Helene Loiselle, Eve Duranceau, Beatrice Picard, Markita Boies.

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