A man (Mario Mentrup) is asleep in his car in an empty parking lot when a dirt-covered woman (Pascale Schiller) climbs into the car to put on her makeup. At first startled and afraid, he pushes her from the car and drives off, long enough to change his mind and return to the parking lot to pick her up. From there, the two strangers travel together, taking time to let the woman clean herself up a bit, before they pull over in the middle of nowhere and begin making out.
Unfortunately for them, just as the man’s first attempt to find peace and quiet in the car lead to his meeting the woman, now the two travelers are interrupted by another couple, who assault our car dwellers, and leave the man and woman beaten and stranded. Now separated after the assault, the man wanders the surrounding wilderness and fields before finding what appears to be an abandoned town. And then things start to get weird as he begins to remember his past. Or dream his future. Or just continue to experience the haunted life of a soul in the limbo of his own creation.
Mario Mentrup’s I Do Adore is one of those unique, acquired cinematic tastes that is not going to be for everyone. Leisurely paced without any overt explanation of characters or events, the film revels in the poetry of its imagery and starkness of sound. As the famous song lyric goes, “there’s something happening here; what it is ain’t exactly clear…”
For the most part, the film is quiet. There are the eventual moans and screams of an abandoned life, though more often it’s the sung lyrics of various songs arriving on occasion to change things up in the soundtrack. Other than those words, however, the film is practically dialogue-free until the second half of the film (and then for only a few brief sequences). The result is a meditative mood that is reset from time to time by the melodies played or sung along, and the desperate strangeness of the third act.
Again, though, to what end does anything in the film exist? I don’t think there’s any concrete, singular “right” answer there; instead, as with many films, interpretation and appreciation will vary wildly from person to person. Some will find the film hypnotic and engaging, others may find it nonsensical and boring. I think it rewards patience, and is more of a mood piece that you get caught up in than a straightforward narrative that walks you through the story.
If that doesn’t sound interesting to you, however, it is what it is. I Do Adore is not going to be for everyone, but I don’t think that it strives to be. I truly believe that someone will watch this and come away with something profound; there’s a value in its artistic aims, even if I can’t tell you precisely what it all means. For me, it has a tone and a mood that, while it did switch itself up briefly from time to time, kept me wrapped within it from opening to close.
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