On Wednesday night I saw a film called In the city of Sylvia at the La Mirada Spanish film festival at ACMI. It’s a film with almost no dialogue, at least no consistent narrative dialogue, and almost no plot. It follows a young man who is a voyeur and flaneur. He watches young women from cafes, sketches them and follows one through the streets of Strasbourg. When they eventually speak, he claims to think she is someone he met years ago. She says that he’s wrong. I didn’t believe him. He seemed more like a psychopath stalker than a hopeless romantic.

The film reminds me of the early short films of Peter Greenaway. It repeats visual signs and builds lists of them in a typical postmodern manner. This film is about walking, bicycles, trams, bra straps, thin people, spilt drinks and desire. As you can probably tell, it didn’t move me at all. The trailer is below.

As usual for a festival event at ACMI the film started horribly late. Why can’t ACMI get their act together and start a session on time? They only encourage the useless hipsters that turn up 10 minutes after the film has started and expect to get in.

There was further annoyance from the La Mirada people immediately outside the cinema asking me to fill out forms to give them my email, etc, then more of the same immediately inside the cinema. It was overkill and insensitive. Their marketing had already worked because I was there to see the film. Leave me the fuck alone. I’ve paid to see a film, not to be accosted.

stalking Sylvia

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