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BOUNDARIES

By Merle Bertrand | October 20, 2001

Everyone knows a face hugger — one of those annoying people who just won’t take a hint and go away no matter what you do or say. You would, however, be hard-pressed to top Angelica’s (Maria Eleno Jorda-Langfeldt) specimen in Greg Durbin’s surreal, bizarrely amusing short film “Boundaries.”
The story, as she recounts it to her psychiatrist (Greg Bell), goes something like this: Stranded in Mexico after a day trip by a bureaucratic snafu, she attracts the attention of a man. But not just any man. This guy, dressed in a Mariachi uniform, has an odd penchant for repeatedly and incessantly clunking his designated huggee in the head…with the slide of a trombone.
That’s right. A trombone.
There’s something inherently amusing about a trombone for starters — unless the trombone section sat right behind you in high school band – which makes this a much funnier instrument to use as a shoulder tapper than, say, a clarinet. There’s also something particularly effective about the way the Trombonist (Navid Negahbau) employs his instrument. At times giving Angelica an insistent, even rude thunk on the back of the head, at other times, an almost gently caressing love stroke of her cheek, at still other times, a sexual prodding of her backside, this mad trombonist conveys more emotion with a deftly placed trombone slide than does many a multi-million dollar per picture actor. As stupid and as ludicrous as this sounds, this is actually a surprisingly comical film. Just like Angelica, the viewer eventually gets used to the idea of repeated trombonal proddings. Accepts them. Counts on them. Takes comfort from them. Misses them when they’re gone. Based on Fernando Sorrentino’s short story “El Hombre del Paragas,” “Boundaries” is a surprising comic jewel; a well-crafted short film from the cinema of the absurd.

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