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30 Beats

Occasionally a director will essay a variation on "La Ronde," Max Ophuls' splendid filmization of the (in)famous Schnitzler play that follows the amorous encounters of an interlocking succession of lovers.

Cast:
With: Condola Rashad, Justin Kirk, Jennifer Tilly, Jason Day, Paz de la Huerta, Lee Pace, Vahina Giocante, Thomas Sadoski, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Ben Levin.

Occasionally a director will essay a variation on “La Ronde,” Max Ophuls’ splendid filmization of the (in)famous Schnitzler play that follows the amorous encounters of an interlocking succession of lovers. Usually these efforts establish themselves along a shifting line between art and porn (1992’s “Chain of Desire” or the recent “360”). In Alexis Lloyd’s Gotham-set debut, however, ambiguity rules the day as a string of strategic blackouts signal unseen consummations, failures of same, and coyly ambivalent blanks. Opening July 20 in limited release, “30 Beats” moves briskly from coupling to coupling, finding little reason to linger.

The jazz-scored pic relies heavily on quirkiness to round out shaky characterizations and inject interest into otherwise forgettable pairings. While highlighting its share of everyday professions like bike messenger or switchboard operator, “Beats” mostly skews exotic in its array of Gothamites: a virgin of each sex, a dominatrix, a political speechwriter, a psychic. Similarly, its 10 trysts tend toward the bizarre — polymorphously perverse trios, chiropractic foreplay, scarred torsos and bondage included. The varied, vaguely bohemian locations range all over New York and command unlikely amounts of space, with nary a cramped apartment in sight.

30 Beats

Production: A Roadside Attractions release of a Latitude 49, Studio 37 production in association with Black Nexxus Prods., Worldview Entertainment, Highbrow Entertainment. Produced by Molly Conners, Carl Ford, Alexis Lloyd. Executive producers, Susan Batson, Ronald Guttman, Pierre Lagrange. Co-producer, Michael Romero. Directed, written by Alexis Lloyd.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Lisa Rinzler; editors, Xavier Loutreuil, Roberto Silvi; music, CC Adcock; production design, Brian Rzepka. Reviewed at Magno Review, New York, June 20, 2012. Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Condola Rashad, Justin Kirk, Jennifer Tilly, Jason Day, Paz de la Huerta, Lee Pace, Vahina Giocante, Thomas Sadoski, Ingeborga Dapkunaite, Ben Levin.

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