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Bob Doto [Celluloid 12.22.08] movie review short

Year: 2008
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Jacques Davidts
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Bob Doto
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Gluttony ranks pretty high as far as deadly sins go, easily outshining some of the more acceptable vices (pride, anyone?). In the US where obesity accounts for the second leading cause of preventable deaths effecting roughly 60 million people, it would seem that Denis Villeneuve’s NEXT FLOOR would have an immediate audience given our collective lust (whoops, another) for the “all you can eat” buffet. If only we had as much interest in short film as we do short ribs.

The official synopsis:

During an opulent and luxurious banquet, complete with cavalier servers and valets, eleven pampered guests participate in what appears to be a ritualistic gastronomic carnage. In this absurd and grotesque universe, an unexpected sequence of events undermines the endless symphony of abundance.

NEXT FLOOR opens with an extreme close up of a man’s eyes, rivaled in detail only by the portraits of Chuck Close; a fitting ally owing to his demonstrations of hyperrealism. Set to the steady thundering beat of a timpani drum, as if to warn of a battle poised to erupt, the shot slowly zooms out revealing the very beginnings of this immersion into the more-real-than-real. Scraping silverware and lip-smacking carnivorousness echo throughout the otherwise silent gorge-fest. People eat. They are served. They eat more. And are thus served more. Deer, shark, rhino, and a seemingly unending supply of sausage funnel (literally for one catatonic patron) into the mouths of the diners. That the entire film takes place in a number of completely empty rooms, only illuminates the contrast between indulgence-as-sterility and indulgence-as-sense-orgy.

And then IT happens, for according to the 4th century monk, Evagrius Ponticus, over-consumption, like all deadly sins, has a well-defined trajectory: down.

However, never to be outdone, gluttony, in contrast its comrades, is a vice almost entirely dependent on the senses. To chew is to taste. To swallow is to feel. To sit before a sizzling plate is to smell. To saw with a whetted knife is to hear. As much as is possible, Villeneuve treats the viewer to each of these senses and allows us to participate, even if vicariously, in what could be (depending on the strength of our stomachs) our final meal.

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quietearth (13 years ago) Reply

I do have as more interest in short film then short ribs, but admittedly I have more interest in a veal tortellini with a light cream sauce and peas.. yummm.


Bob Doto (13 years ago) Reply

I have been obsessed with the peas and potatoes over rice dish for $6 from this Pakistani place called "Lahore" lately. Even for breakfast. That's urban!


Marina (13 years ago) Reply

This is high on my "must watch" list. Looking forward to finally getting a chance to see it...somehow!


Konny (13 years ago) Reply

Hey guys//how can anybody get to watch this brilliant film?


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

I saw it at the Hirshorn in D.C. Amazing film.


Robson (12 years ago) Reply

This is a marvelous short film, indeed, and plays on a continuous loop at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, through April 11, 2010.

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