Thursday, September 27, 2007

13 Tzameti: Grade B


13 Tzameti (2005)

George Babluani; Writer-Director: Géla Babluani. French, subtitled.

Babluani is a young roofer working on an old mansion when an envelope with a ticket and instructions accidentally comes into his hands. Since the owner of the house died and he will not be paid for his work, he decides to use the ticket and follow the instructions, based on a conversation he overheard about possibly big financial rewards. The film is in beautiful black and white, well composed and photographed, reminiscent of French existential films of the 60’s. The “deal” he walks into is an illegal gambling operation very similar to the situation of Christopher Walken's in The Deerhunter. That outcome was was disappointing after such a nice tense buildup. There are so many more interesting story possibilities for a young man walking blindly into an illegal deal. Anyway, the life and death gambling proceeds in the obvious way with predictable outcome, although a few surprises await the young man on the way home. There is a faint existential theme: “A man only lives once and dies once. Why not do it this way?” But the situation was formulaic and abstract, robbing such words of their meaning. The acting is good and the photography very pleasing, but the tension of the central set piece was too contrived to be engaging.

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