By Sherrie Li
By Falling James
By Amanda Lewis
By Amy Nicholson
By Amy Nicholson
By Jennifer Swann
By Scott Foundas
By Sherrie Li
In Duck Season, two adolescent boys, Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Cataño), are left alone for a long afternoon in the cramped apartment of a drab Mexican housing project. Flama’s anxious mom has gone somewhere with a tray of food, but little is made of her absence, and unlike in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, the boys are neither abandoned nor exploited by writer-director Fernando Eimbcke, who gives them a soulful life that perhaps can only be found when the noisy tech-toys we use to blot out the lonely voices in our heads are silenced. Just as the boys are settling down to a rowdy afternoon of Halo on the XBox, the power goes out. Then a young neighbor, Rita (Danny Perea), shows up to bake a cake (twice). And a pizza-delivery man (Enrique Arreola) with the potentially meaningful name of Ulises camps out in the apartment because the boys won’t pay.
Not much else happens, give or take a few minutes spent shooting up the treasured tchotchkesof Flama’s divorcing parents with a BB gun. Time slows down, and sounds normally drowned out by high-tech living — like a dripping tap — become thunder claps. Duck Season looks lovely in black-and-white, but if the movie has a fault, it’s the over-stylized shooting style — yes, Eimbcke cut his teeth making rock videos — with which first-time filmmakers are prone to over-embellish the great stories they have to tell. But if a shot of Rita, viewed over a dish of shivering Jell-O from deep inside a refrigerator, is perhaps more culinary cinematography than the film requires, it’s a small price to pay for Eimbcke’s precocious grasp of the inchoate emotional worlds of the young, and the way that the smallest quotidian details offer up the DNA of life. In one funny and heart-stopping scene, Flama’s new pals try to jolly him out of his misery over his parents’ divorce by pointing to his red hair as evidence that he’s adopted. In another, Ulises imagines for himself a landscape that compensates for his foregone career as an ethologist. In the ebb and flow of shifting alliances, and the confiding of dreams, fears and disappointments that gives way to sudden bursts of heedless cruelty and kindness, Eimbcke has found a sweet and moving way to make concrete the kids’ blind search for meaning and comfort. As the day draws to a close, no life is changed forever, but no one leaves empty-handed either. Duck Season is not (yet) the work of a great filmmaker, but it’s the kind of movie in which a fledgling director traps his talent in a bottle and saves it for next time.
THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS | Directed by ASIA ARGENTO | Written by ARGENTO and ALESSANDRO MAGANIA | Based on the book by JT LeROY | Produced by CHRIS HANLEY and ALAIN DE LA MATA | Released by Palm Pictures | At Nuart
DUCK SEASON | Written and directed by FERNANDO EIMBCKE | Produced by CHRISTIAN VALDELIÈVRE | Released by Warner Independent Pictures | At Sunset 5, Monica 4-Plex and Playhouse 7
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city