Official Oaxaca FilmFest Endorsement Package
(note: spoiler alert)
Dear Betty Jiang, Oaxaca FilmFest would like to thank you for entrusting us with your work and we are honored to present you with this review.
It is important to bring to your attention that this review does not constitute a critic of your work, but is aiming to offer you an objective commentary that can help enhance your artistic abilities.
Following the review of your project, here are some points that deserve attention:
VANCOUVER RHAPSODY is about finding closure, being able to move on and talk, for the most part about the past if we so wish to move on into the future. While making love on the night of their engagement, Leo and Sandra call out the names of their exes. This, of course creates a rip between the two. As they come to terms with the fact that they may have caused pain to their past loved ones, the couple invites Ethan and Melissa for dinner. While this could be seen as a bad idea, it is, the only way these people can actually find some semblance of peace before moving on onto other things. Unless they want to keep invoking their exes in bed for the rest of their short marriages. Now, as the dinner progresses, things turn awkward, grudges come out, past transgressions, infidelities and other such things that take part into deteriorating relationships come out during the night. There’s a point where we are not sure there’s a chance at a future for Leo and Sandra. There’s just so much baggage, and the crazy idea of inviting their past lovers to break bread with them is not going to make things any easier. Not when there’s still some fire left among them.
In VANCOUVER RHAPSODY we have people, four of them, but these four individuals who tried to merge their lives are an example of what is like to try and have a relationship these days. The act of calling out their exes by name while making love is not an inherently evil one, nor selfish, it’s just human. People have one life to live, and to choose one partner for the rest of that brief life can become a daunting experience. It is no coincidence that Leo and Sandra recalled their past while making love in the night of their engagement, this is a natural trigger, and as we find out in the dinner scenes, it’s not even about their exes either. Marriage, the realization that two lives will merge into one, which no other person will occupy that space in our beds terrifies them because it confronts us with our own mortality, with the briefness of our lives. Suddenly, there are no more options, no more new people to meet, but just to settle with. To try and bring those exes back is in a way, a therapy of sorts. Was my past any better than what I will have in my future. We spend close to an hour and a half exploring these themes, over bottles of wine, over meals. Leo, Sandra, Ethan and Melissa, sharing one table, they used to share more than that. As they try to be as civil as possible, the night becomes a parade of emotions. Nostalgia, bitterness, anger, lust, love, unrequited love, empathy and towards the end…closure. They can finally part ways, and move on.
The film is not just an exploration of modern relationships, but also a love letter to the city of Vancouver. While the interiors are shot in an apartment with warm lights and in color, the exterior shots (most of them) are shot in black and white, capturing a grit and architectural majesty of the city which usually stands-in for other cities. This is Vancouver in all its humid, grey and cold glory. The cast itself reflects the cosmopolitan and diverse feeling of Vancouver itself. (I must add, I spent some time in the city) in closing, VANCOUVER RHAPSODY manages to make full use of its setting, while most of the film takes place around a table and in an apartment, the few times we are outside transport us to the city. The actor’s direction manages to extract some honest, raw performances that immerse us into the narrative.
These various elements constitute the strength of this project. Under no circumstances would I change any of these.
If I had one quote that would summarize the project, it would be this:
“VACNOUVER RHAPSODY deals with closure during an intimate dinner between four lovers, their past their present and their future depend on whether or not they can make peace with their feelings in this emotional rollercoaster of a film”.
I want to personally thank you again.
I hope this was helpful.
If you would like us to post this particular quote on IMDB, please contact me directly and I will be happy to do so.
Enrrico Wood Lagonigro