What Time Is It There?

What Time Is It There? ★★★★

As disconnected as I found "Face", I was very, very glad that I decided to stick around for this movie as this movie marries the director's slow (almost completely still) burning aesthetic to a narrative that I could actually both get into and find myself rather amused by. If "Face" had no like narrative arc or characters to hang your hat onto, this again in direct comparison features three very vivid characters and an actual situation that we're introduced to and then see develop over the course of its two hour runtime. (or in other words--an actual movie!) (This may in turn have caused me to overrate this a tad, but I'd like to think I would've still really enjoyed this even if I hadn't saw this after sitting thru a two plus hour movie without any story line to it)

I really liked the mixing of its deadpan humor here (extremely deadpan) with the somewhat slight story of the main character who's a young twenty something guy in Taiwan here mourning the loss of his dad whose death opens the film, becoming obsessed with all things Paris (because this woman he sells his watch to is traveling to Paris and he decides to set all the clocks seven hours ahead to Paris time since that's where his watch is anyways) It becomes sort of this quirky thing where we watch the guy going thru his everyday life (he peddles watches on the street) but becoming more and more into his fixation on clocks and France. Like we see him go around re-setting every single clock he can find (there's a scene where he ends up pocketing this giant clock from a movie theater he's at because the clock comes off the wall as he's attempting to re-set it, and there's another scene where he literally dangles from the side of a tall building in order to set this giant clock facing people--everyone's gotta have a hobby right?) We see him also go to the video store and request French films which finds him randomly watching "The 400 Blows" of all things, and then he ends up watching that over and over again. (It's kinda funny to think that this guy's entire knowledge of Paris comes from this one movie!)

We also follow the woman who had bought the main guy's watch on her journey thru Paris, and it's rather less than ideal as she's sorta adrift there without anyone who speaks her language and she doesn't know what to do after awhile. It's not the most dynamic story, but i liked the continual back and fourth between this guy pining for life somewhere else, and this woman who actually is somewhere else pining for the life she had had back home.

There's a third person we follow and that's the main guy's mother who's dutifully mourning the loss of her husband of a number of years and can't let go of the rituals of like preparing dinner bowls for him or setting places for him at the table, or eating late at night, all the stuff that she doesn't have to do anymore but got used to because that's how she's lived her life for decades on end.

Is this a great movie? Again I might've overrated it just because I was thrilled to have a narrative to follow. As much as I liked this, I will admit that it's a little overlong and that it ultimately doesn't really go anywhere--like it's just a life goes on for these people kinda ending...but I did really like a lot of the rhythms of this and the deadpan humor of this reminded me of other disconnected displaced/isolated from everyone else foreign films such as "Cold Fever" (which I love) and "Last Life in the Universe" (which i should really see again one year) both of which also had this sorta deadpan (almost Jarmusch like) humor floating around as well as a good sense of the absurd. This was good! I was really glad I hung around to see this one after being somewhat baffled by the acclaim for "Face"

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