This Side of Resurrection

Featuring one of the more unusual recent film characters -- a surfing monk, or perhaps a monkish surfer -- Joaquim Sapinho's "This Side of Resurrection" undermines its best intentions with a stilted rendering of complex family relationships involving the surfer, his adoring younger sister and alienated mother.

With:
With: Pedro Sousa, Joana Barata, Sofia Grillo, Pedro Carmo, Luis Castro, Joao Cardoso, Mariana Antonio.

Featuring one of the more unusual recent film characters — a surfing monk, or perhaps a monkish surfer — Joaquim Sapinho’s “This Side of Resurrection” undermines its best intentions with a stilted rendering of complex family relationships involving the surfer, his adoring younger sister and alienated mother. The bland storytelling is paradoxically set against the spectacular backdrop of Portugal’s Guincho beach, with Nuno Cardoso’s brilliant underwater lensing providing a powerful sense of what it’s like to be in and under the waves. Surf looks glassy at fests and markets and in local November release.

After a stint in a nearby monastery, Rafael (Pedro Sousa) has returned to catching waves — well-formed 10-footers he manages with aplomb. His mother (vet thesp Sofia Grillo) lied to daughter Ines (Joana Barata, who provides the pic’s only emotional pull) that Rafael had split from the family to hang 10 in Oz, much like their long-absent surfing champ dad. Ines has b.f. problems, and Rafael is drawn back to the monastery and one good-looking monk. A stupefying sense of ennui and boredom overwhelms the overlong film’s potentially dynamic fusion of psychological and physical space.

This Side of Resurrection

Portugal

Production: A Rosa Filmes release and presentation. Produced by Maria Joao Sigalho. Directed by Joaquim Sapinho. Screenplay, Monica Santana Baptista, Rui Santos, Luis Araujo, Joaquim Sapinho.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Leonardo Simoes; editor, Santos; set decorator, Patricia Ameixial; costume designer, Ameixial. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Visions), Sept. 17, 2011. Running time: 118 MIN.

With: With: Pedro Sousa, Joana Barata, Sofia Grillo, Pedro Carmo, Luis Castro, Joao Cardoso, Mariana Antonio.

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