Saturday, December 20, 2008
This Antarctica has nothing to do with penguins. (Regent Releasing)
In order to keep up with the holiday releases - and the Christmas shopping - some film will have to get short shrift here. Antarctica (opening December 19 at the Ken Cinema) concerns a pair of gay siblings Omer (Tomer Ilan) and Shirley (Lucy Dubinchik). Omer has been working through a series of blind dates to find his dream man. This is made worse by the fact he's about to turn thirty. In contrast, Shirley seems to have found her perfect mate yet settling down scares her. One of her hesitations revolves around the fact that she longs to travel to Antarctica.
Writer-director Yair Hochner strives to make this a sexy romantic comedy but I just couldn't get into the multi-strand, multi-character tale. But I feel like I should give the film a second chance - maybe all the holiday stress was distracting me. Yet I found the split frame opening montage and use of video off-putting and stylistically unengaging. For a film that is so concerned with sex and relationships, Hochner should understand the power of first impressions. His rapid, multi-frame opening montage of one-night stands feels like a TV show open in terms of the style (not in terms of the sweaty sex). And that in your face approach was a turn-off for me. I did enjoy one scene in which a group of mothers complain about the lack of prospective spouses for their gay children. Among the moms is Shoshanna played by one of Israel's most famous drag queens, Yoam Huberman. Now Divine has company in the cinematic gallery of memorable moms.
Antarctica is in Hebrew with English subtitles and rated R for strong sexual content including graphic dialogue, nudity and language.
Companion viewing: Walk on Water, The Opposite of Sex. Encounters at the End of the World, Hairspray (the original)