Monday, April 30, 2012

IndieLisboa'12: "The Fairy" (2011)

The Fairy is a pretty idiosyncratic piece. It not only feels deeply personal, it is actually written, produced, directed and starred by three good friends: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy. Even more, the main characters are called Dom and Fiona, as they were in their previous film Rumba (2008). A strong artistic freedom, I suppose, and a creative set of sensitive minds have unfolded the carpet for a tale that has as much great funny moments as random pointless boring stuff. Those good moments make it worth, that's when the script does a skillful counterweighting of weird nonsense humor with familiar little nags, plus a sense of drama arousing from character clues. The first twenty minutes are lovely on this matter: the boredom of Dom's profession showed by the constant interruption of his dinner (a sandwich), working the suspense as a comic device, for we know he is eventually going to eat the tap of the ketchup bottle that fell with the sauce onto the bread, because he was too distracted on his own imagination. The repetition not only makes you laugh for the gags but also increases the tension for when he finally chokes on the tap and is saved by Fiona, a woman who claims to be a Fairy. Dom lying on the floor, she then steps on top of him, dances to crack-massage his back and the day after he wakes up and one of the first wishes was fulfilled: to have a scooter. Right there, a brand new blue scooter. And he doesn't even now how to ride it.

They have a date now. A light sequence in which Fiona robs a dress and a pair of shoes (she's always barefoot). But the rendez-vouz takes place on a rather banal caffee, managed by a man who constantly hits the wall because of how blind he is. Another proof of script dexterity with little details is the way Fiona gets Dom his second wish: gas for a lifetime. She trades her room key, a blue chip with the number "23" for a similar one with the number "57", that opens one of the big gas containers by the riverside. We get a little bit more into their real world and she's a patient in a mental institution and hence we wonder if what we're seeing is all but in their heads. You have to see the way Dom finds to rescue her from that place and I'm only telling you, a baby suddenly puffs up on someone's belly.

Somewhat after the middle of the movie, I started to feel the lack of plot or character design planning. As it kept adding more and more characters, I begun to realize most of the things wouldn't payoff and it would all feel even looser, the drama was surpassed by the quirkiness, which exhausted it, and I don't even want to go into the three musical scenes. Yet, I must walk off with a big note of appraisal for some fine, fine touches of visual conception. The hotel at night, the silent and desert bit of street we glimpsed at, the colors and forms of the sky against the cemented roof, it all gave the piece a funny-dark comic-book sketch tone that helped to corroborate the balance between the reality and the fantasy. It went off trails on that magic realism though, and let the what-the-hell take the reigns.

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