What would happen if French New Wave filmmakers Jean-Luc Goddard and Alain Resnais, and Italian suspense-horror master Dario Argento got drunk, wrote a performance art piece, and then collapsed into a heap on the floor? For one, it’d be quite a mess to clean up, but their idiosyncrasies and cinematic styles as filmmakers would whirl into something like Camille Landau’s short film “Sunday, morning.” The film is definitely about something, but like a freakish action figure that isn’t battery-powered, it doesn’t do anything except give you the heebeegeebees. “Sunday, morning” is about disappointment as depicted via memories and shattered love. The story ultimately reads like the following:
Once upon a time there was a young girl named Sophie (Kimberly A. Paige) who liked to hear the tale of how her parents (Babette Landau, Michael Cavanaugh) met and fell in love. One day, when she was fifteen years-old (Sarabeth Tucek), she learned that her father was not the first man her mother loved. Shocked at this knowledge, Sophie began to wonder if her first love (Roger Toussaint) ever sincerely loved her. It sounds straight forward enough, but because “Sunday, morning” isn’t an example of conventional narrative cinema, the plot is difficult to summarize. Landau’s film is a non-linear hodge-podge of French New Wave and a stage play. The camera cuts at a disorienting pace and lines are delivered in such a way that you’d almost rather the film be a play. As the short film progresses, it’s as if you’re inside the director’s head while she types the script (you even see her typing). The set materializes and changes and the characters enter and exit at the speed of thought. “Sunday, morning” incorporates flashbacks visually reminiscent of “Last Year at Marienbad” (Resnais, 1961). There’s also an Argento creepiness to the lighting design and camera angles that doesn’t sit too well with one’s homeostasis. “Sunday, morning” is a peculiar film. Even after it ends and you’ve processed the cynical tone and extracted the story, it still doesn’t do anything. It remains like the weird-looking toy that can send shivers through your skin just by sitting there and staring at you with its empty glass eyes.
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