Thu 30 Mar 2006
This photo feels somewhat staged … don’t you think?
Fresh on the U.S. Foreign Film circuit is “Temporada de Patos” or “Duck Season”. Released in its native Mexico in 2004, the film has circumnavigated the globe and landed stateside just recently.
The film centers around two 14-year-old boys (played by Diego Cataño and Daniel Miranda). They are best friends and spend every Sunday playing video games and goofing around like every other teenager.
The particular Sunday being recounted in the film goes a bit differently when right in the middle of a Halo death match, the power goes out. There goes plan A.
Enter the cute 16-year-old neighbor girl played by Danny Perea. Yes it is a girl … and I’m a dirty old man because she was quite attractive (please be over 18, please be over 18). She has come over to bake a cake because her apartment’s oven is broken.
Getting away from possible jail time, we add to the mix a pizza deliveryman played by Enrique Arreola, or as I like to translate: Rick Nipple.
The boys ordered a pizza which he dutifully brings to their door, only there is a dispute of whether he got there in the allotted 30 minutes. He refuses to leave without being paid and so he is now a part of the group.
What follows is a hodgepodge of activities and personal confiding that ranges from a few botched baking attempts, a successful baking of pot brownies, the story of how a would-be veterinarian ended up a pizza delivery man, one of the boys beginning to realize he might be gay, and the use of an air rifle to shoot up all the nice things in the apartment.
Got all that? Good.
The film is entirely in black and white, though I don’t know if that was because of budget or design. That worked fine and I don’t have any complaints about cinematography or shot selection.
The acting was surprisingly good, considering the two leads are young boys, and Danny Perea was especially good. She gave the foursome their heart and drive. Without her, the movie would have been best left a short film because there just wouldn’t have been enough story and development to go around.
Which leads me to the downfall of the film.
There are some funny moments and there are some touching moments. But packed in with those moments are plenty of stretches where you almost feel like you’re watching a security video of the apartment.
While that could have been the intent of writer/director Fernando Eimbcke, it didn’t work for me.
I would have like to have seen a more complex emotional undercurrent and a better follow through on the subplots generated throughout the film that concerned each of the four compatriots.
Maybe that was Eimbcke’s point, maybe the whole film was meant to just be a slice of life that just happened to be on a day when four people would make a connection that may not last but would linger in their minds for much of their lives afterwards.
Again, even so, it didn’t work for me.
I’m also going to throw out the cultural difference factor here but even with that in mind, I’m going to have to give “Duck Season” a 2 out of 5. It was just middle of the road and had it not been for Perea’s guile and sincerity, I might not have been able to keep my eyes open for this film.
If you’re looking for really good foreign cinema, go ahead and keep looking.