Somewhere Beautiful (NR)

Drama 78 min. April 21, 2017
By Kenji Fujishima
The end of an affair is the catalyst for the meta-movie game-playing in Albert Kodagolian's Somewhere Beautiful, the same way it was for Atom Egoyan's 1993 film Calendar, from which Kodagolian has drawn his inspiration. But whereas Egoyan used the crumbling relationship between a photographer and his translator in Armenia as the basis for a dense, personal meditation on cultural identity, Kodagolian apparently found only the film's romantic aspects of any interest.

Somewhere Beautiful borrows Egoyan's use of multiple film formats (switching back and forth between 16mm and 35mm), nonlinear narrative structure and even whole dialogue scenes, but the devices are deployed for a considerably less interesting chronicle of a Los Angeles–based photographer/filmmaker (Kodagolian himself) dealing with the breakup of his marriage, in this case to Robyn Buck's Rachel. His struggles to adjust to single fatherhood alternate with a Calendar-inspired, Patagonia-set fictional tale of a photographer's (Anthony Bonaventura) increasing jealousy toward translator girlfriend Elena's (María Alche) perceived flirtations with a local guide (Pablo Cedrón).

One scene approaches the kind of humbled introspection that distinguished Calendar: Kodagolian recounts the sacrifices his Armenian parents made to get him and themselves to the United States. Otherwise, Somewhere Beautiful comes off as little more than an act of navel-gazing self-pity, never resonating beyond the borders of its maker's own angst. Kodagolian's film merely cannibalizes Egoyan's to lend inflated importance to a frankly humdrum showbiz sob story.
Albert Kodagolian María Alche, Anthony Bonaventura, Pablo Cedrón, Robyn Buck, Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz Matthew Bedard, Jimmy Kelly

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