any good movies lately?
and recommend it.
From the moment they
first meet as kids, Otto and Ana seem to be linked by fate. Otto's
running just outside of the schoolyard in pursuit of an escaped ball
when he trips and falls -- and finds himself at the feet of Ana, who's
escaped to the woods after getting the news of her father's death. The
two kids don't say anything, just stare, each aware that there's
something special about the other. For Otto, it's love at first sight.
Ana, meanwhile, thinks she sees her dad in Otto's eyes. Chance
encounters and strange coincidences continue to bring Otto and Ana in
and out of each other's lives. Otto's recently divorced dad and Ana's
widow mother meet while picking up their children from school one day,
and the two start dating. When the parents eventually get married, Otto
and Ana find themselves brother and sister. Though Otto continues to
live with his mother, who's never quite recovered from her marriage's
failure, he finds himself wanting to spend more and more time at his
dad's, with Ana, whom he steadfastly continues to adore. Ana, meanwhile,
learns to let go of her dad and appreciate Otto for himself; the two
adolescents are soon sneaking into each other's bedrooms, unbeknownst to
their parents, who have no clue that their children were really the ones
destined to fall in love, and that in many ways, their relationship
accidentally got in the way. Tragedy soon separates Otto and Ana, and as
adults, they go off on their separate paths. The formers lovers
gradually losing track of each other after their parents' relationship
ends in divorce. But coincidence, destiny, luck, whatever, eventually
brings them together again, in a remote town far, far north, straddling
the Arctic Circle.
As Otto points out early in their relationship, both he and Ana have
names that are palindromes: read either name forward or backwards and
it's still the same. What goes around comes around, the beginning
becomes the end becomes the beginning -- and as it turns out, this
circularity describes more than just their first names, but their lives
as well, which loop around each other, intersecting and diverging and
meeting up again, their love the great big infinite circle that binds
everything together. Writer-director Julio Medem's Lovers of the
Arctic Circle is an elegant, intriguing little movie, with a very
stylish look and a cool structure that guides us from one lover's
perspective to another, through three distinct stages of the characters'
lives. It's meticulously, beautifully constructed: for a movie that's so
obsessed with the idea of fate, there's very little about the way the
story's told that's left to chance. This is one of those movies where
every tiny detail seems very carefully and lovingly controlled; it's
chock full of symbols and visual metaphors. This, of course, makes it a
lot of fun for those who like to analyze their movies to death, and
potentially a little contrived for anyone who prefers their movies more
straightforward and naturalistic. Rent it when you're in the right frame
of mind for watching patiently and carefully, so you can let all the
small, quiet circles of each event in Lovers of the Arctic Circle
wash over you, building up on their own, slow time. —reviewed
by Yee-Fan Sun
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