January 24, 2008

Park City Dispatch. 6.

Blue Eyelids Brian Darr on one of the best films he's caught yet at Sundance.

Making my Sundance home base here in Salt Lake City has given me opportunities to see certain films before they've played 30 miles up the mountain in Park City, where buzz can become deafening. Yesterday evening I saw one such film: Blue Eyelids, which will have at least three Park City screenings over the festival's last few days. I took note of this debut feature from director Ernesto Contreras when it appeared on film scholar Sergio de la Mora's list of last year's best Mexican films, and I'm so glad I made sure to fit it into my schedule here.

Blue Eyelids is a tale, almost fable-like at times, of a loner (Cecilia Suárez) so isolated that when she wins a trip for two to a beach resort she invites along an equally solitary man (Enrique Arreola) who may or may not be a total stranger to her. Before heading on the vacation together, the pair go through the motions of falling in love but struggle to connect. They go on several dates: a picnic in which they each end up lost in their own thoughts, a movie date (the film-within-a-film they watch is also called Blue Eyelids) and a dancing date that turns into a near-disaster.

Each of these sequences blurs the separation between reality and an inner world by drawing our attention to the soundtrack. The recurring use of Dave Berry singing "This Strange Effect" reinforces the achingly melancholy mood Contreras has summoned up for his perhaps fundamentally dissociated characters. I'm not precisely sure what an occasionally reintroduced parallel plot about an elderly woman and her nurse means for the film overall, though I have my theories.

Blue Eyelids brings to mind Eric Rohmer's The Green Ray, if only for its middle class milieu and its use of a summer vacation as a metaphor for a wider condition. It may not be the masterpiece The Green Ray is, but it's among the best films I've seen at this festival so far.

-Brian Darr



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Posted by dwhudson at January 24, 2008 1:28 AM

Comments

Brian, I just wanted to say that I've been following and enjoying your Sundance dispatches, and look forward to catching Blue Eyelids.

Do you think you might do a "Best of Sundance" list when the festival ends? If you do (no pressure), we TIFF-goers can use it as a resource later this year.

Posted by: girish at January 24, 2008 3:45 AM

I wasn't planning to publish anything in list form, girish, but since you've requested I'll see what I can do! I'm glad you're enjoying what I've written so far.

Posted by: Brian at January 24, 2008 6:50 AM