Just Sex and Nothing Else, Fresh Air, and The General

Like The Prince of Soap the day before, the first film I saw on this day (Just Sex and Nothing Else) is another funny, frothy romantic comedy set in show business with the lead character being a female screenwriter. This time it’s the live theater instead of television soap opera, and the language is Hungarian instead of Finnish.

Dora is 32 and the man she was getting serious with turns out to be married, so she has decided to swear off all men. But she still wants children. Hilarity ensues.

Actually, that sounds sarcastic, but it is pretty funny and well done. I was glad I saw it, though I kept thinking that the women all seemed too attractive to be having problems finding reasonable men. Not that this complaint is specific to this film.

Fresh Air is way harder to put in a category. It’s also Hungarian, but it’s definitely not a comedy. As the film opens we see Viola going to a singles dance. The music is a guy on a keyboard playing and singing a song that sounds like a dirge, with lyrics that must have been written by a very depressed person. Although the men seem quite interested in her, Viola consistently looks like maybe she’s the one who wrote those lyrics. Maybe that’s because her job is to run a public toilet, collecting money and cleaning the toilets.

We soon learn that Viola has a daughter named Angéla, who’s in high school (though she often cuts class, with or without her best friend) and likes to design clothes.

The title seems to be related to similar obsessions that the two women (mother and daughter) have. Viola is always spraying room freshener around, while Angéla likes to open all the windows even in the dead of winter.

I think I liked this film, though I’m still not sure. It’s certainly less fun than the other films I have seen so far at Cinequest, but it also made me think more, and I’m still trying to figure out what it meant.

Lastly on this day was a showing of The General, a silent film directed by and starring Buster Keaton. It was shown at the California Theater in San Jose, California, with organ accompaniment. I won’t attempt to describe it or rate it, but I will say that Buster Keaton is a god.

I’ll give 3 stars out of 4 stars to both Just Sex and Nothing Else and Fresh Air.

Seen 3/2/2007 at Cinequest.

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