Monday, February 28, 2011


After feeling totally cheated by Aaron Katz's 'Cold Weather' a few weeks ago (a movie that's been getting praise from people like Roger Ebert & Ray Carney), i wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with movies involving "hipsters" anymore. I think I'm so pissed off because 'Cold Weather' was actually shaping up to me an amazing movie. I thought; for once, a "mumblecore" film that ISN'T about a bunch of whiny, annoying 20-something year old white people, living in Brooklyn, complaining about their relationship problems, saying "like" between every other word. But the last 30 minutes (along with an extremely weak plot turn) just fueled my hatred for these kind of movies. As much as i hate "mumblecore", i always find myself giving those movies a chance, and they almost always suck. "Like, know?" To this day, 'The Puffy Chair' and the last 30 minutes of 'Quiet City' are the only 2 things produced by the mumblecore scene that i stand behind. Seriously, why cant the mumblecore scene be more like 'Blue Valentine' (a movie i like more and more each time i watch it) or the movie of discussion; 'Heartbeats'? Directors like Xavier Dolan (who's only 22 years old with 2 features already under his belt), give me hope about the future of cinema. This movie borrows a lot from french new wave, but since he's so young, I'll give him a pass and just assume he's going the "Tarrantino route" and paying homage to his favorite movies. I just hope as he gets older, he finds a style that's all his own, which he already kinda has.
'Heartbeats' has the playful quirkiness of Godard (specifically; a woman is a woman, masculine feminine and other various french new wave films) mixed with (good) Gus Van Sant (specifically; paranoid park and mala noche). The Lead actress's hair and wardrobe are clearly modeled after Anna Karina and the two male leads are right outta one of Gus Van Sant's wet dreams. Xavier Dolan's odd choice of music to go with certain scenes somehow works, just like with what Van Sant did with the soundtrack to 'Paranoid Park' and his segment in 'Paris je t'aime'.
The Story of 'Heartbeats' is quite straight forward: Two close friends (a guy and a girl) both have a crush on the same guy, and find themselves competing with each other to gain his affection, which puts a strain on their friendship. Furthermore, the guy they have a crush on is totally oblivious, not even gay, and has no romantic interest in either of them. I will admit, the trailer (posted below) is somewhat misleading. In fact, the trailer almost made me not go and see it. Don't get me wrong, there is an excessive amount of slow motion camera-work in the film, but its actually done for a very good reason. A lot of the slo-mo shots focus on the actors' facial expressions when they are put in uncomfortable situations. Dolan's use of slow motion also does a great job at accentuating the actor's bodies (especially the lead actress). Plus, all the slow camera work is evened out with plenty of hand held cinematography.
As it says in the title, this really is one of the best (new) movies I've scene in a long time, and i highly recommend it. Its funny too, because this movie looked something i would typically hate. Xavier Dolan is a director i see catching the attention of Gus Van Sant, and i wouldn't be surprised if the two of them collaborate in the future.


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