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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Lingering Fellini:

The Temptation of St. Tony
Directed by: Veiko Õunpuu
Saturday, November 13th, 10 p.m., Thalian Hall Black Box Box Theater
www.thetemptationofsttony.com

Sometimes movies are easy to define. They have a convenient plot, a standard cast of characters, and a traditional story that does very little to challenge us. Then there are films that try and make us think—cerebral films that require a little more of the audience. Then there are films like “The Temptation of St. Tony,” the kind of cinematic lunacy that almost defies explanation.

I’m a fan of “outside the box” filmmaking. Defying convention is something to be admired; although, at times, it’s difficult to appreciate. Film festivals like Cucalorus provide the perfect venue for a flick like “The Temptation of St. Tony.” The movie is such an oddball experience. On the surface, it’s 10 pounds of crazy in a five pound bag. Yet, there are layers to it—insane, crazy layers that take time to digest.

When discussing avant-garde cinema, a name like Fellini is often uttered. There are comparisons to be made here. Still, I think that a lot of people don’t really understand what Fellini represented. I had a friend in college who would always describe senseless movies as being “Fellini-esque.” The term was intended to describe Fellini’s gift of weaving reality and dreams into one seamless experience. It’s not a catch-all term to describe the bizarre.

“The Temptation of St. Tony” can wear the Fellini-esque badge without issue. The story is a strange tale of man who begins to question his morality. After attending a funeral for his father, he marches through a black-and-white dystopia, dealing with a number of peculiar locales and strange social situations. The film is reminiscent of a lot of post World War II cinema coming out of Eastern Europe: the crisp black-and-white photography matched with disconnected scenes of sense and senselessness.

It’s a reckless and restless drive that seems to examine the post-Communist era. Within the examination of morality comes the privileges that had been denied to a culture for so long. A culture clash between a new generation of wealthy upper class citizens and the beguiled poor whose lives have shown little improvement, despite the abandonment of Communism in favor of a “free” society. It’s heavy stuff, highly symbolic and open to varying interpretations. If nothing else, that’s what good film-festival cinema is about.

I was still talking about “The Temptation of St. Tony” several days after I watched it. Still pouring over the abstract nature of the story and trying to wrap my mind around what exactly I had seen. And I think that’s the highest compliment you can pay a festival film. Odd, intriguing

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, 910tix.com. Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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