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Disturbingly Strange Film, Which Proceeds by Omen and Instinct, Not by Discursive and Highly Plotted Ingenuity,
This review is from: The Woman in the Fifth [DVD] (DVD)
"Woman in the Fifth" (Mongrel DVD-4857 being the North American edition which I acquired) is a strange and unsettling film which opens question upon perplexing question in the viewer's mind and resolves nothing, even at the end. My "take" is that Margit, one of the novelist's two lovers, who, it turns out, had died a decade and an half before the time of the action portrayed even begins, somehow has drawn the protagonist into another realm of time and being, suspended between present and past. Having come to Paris to be near the daughter of his marriage with a wife now estranged, divorced, the writer, depending on one's perception, either sinks into a shadow life of mental illness or into the realm of the esoteric and occult, although he does not realise how fully until the film's dénouement of the various strands of his life and those of others among the cast. Ethan Hawke as the writer is bewildered, sad, and yet at times impetuously sexy despite the pervasive gloom of his moodiness, frustration, and torment.
Some find the motion picture chaotic and disorganised. I disagree about that. The film is wonderfully artistic, and, weird and it turns out more and more to be as its action proceeds, there is a clear line, one that is artistic and intuitive, from beginning to end, though not one that is susceptible to logical explanation and analysis. There are no extra features included, either, at least in the DVD as I found it, to help to shed some light on the film's tantalisingly unresolved mysteries or regarding what prompted the movie's creators to produce what they did. The film is just its own, by turns grungy, sensuously bittersweet, and rather nightmarishly peculiar self, a wondrously odd work of art. It is not, however, for those who regard as essential a tight movie plot and straightforward path to a clear conclusion!