The Tour and Truffe

The Tour is a Serbian comedy/drama set in 1993. The main characters are all actors from a theater company in Belgrade, but they don’t seem very serious about their work. They miss their curtain calls during rehearsal because they’re too busy gambling. To make a little extra money, they decide to take a quick trip to perform for the troops and people in a town near the front lines. They are assured that despite the ongoing war, things are safe these days, and they don’t seem too concerned about making sure they know what play they’ll perform or even if they have enough people to fill the roles.

Things are not as promised, of course. Bombs drop very near the road they’re traveling on, and the hotel they thought they would be staying at doesn’t have space. And that’s just for starters.

I had problems with this film. The characters seem slapstick and cartoonish, and the music invokes thoughts of a court jester. But the war violence is real, and even though it is mostly off-screen, that combination made it impossible for me to enjoy the comedy most of the time. It seemed well-made, and from the Cinequest program I gather that some scenes were filmed in the director’s bombed out grade school, so I feel bad rating it low. But I can’t give it more than 2 stars out of 4 stars.

Truffe is… really hard to categorize. It’s a black and white French Canadian film about truffles—the kind that grow underground, not the chocolate kind. Global warming has caused them to become plentiful in Montreal, and lots of people are making a living digging them up in tunnels under the city. Charles has an especially good nose for them, which keeps his wife Alice’s diner stocked and their customers happy.

Other characters include Charles’ parents (his father is played by Pierre Lebeau, who was the voice of the fish in Maelström, for you Camera Cinema Club members), who drive a Hummer H2 (what global warming?). There is a fur collar with a surprise. And more.

This film had me grinning like an idiot for most of its running time, trying to figure out what drugs the writer/director/producer must have been on to dream this stuff up. It was a little tense at times (I’m a bit of a wimp in that regard), but incredibly enjoyable throughout. I was reminded of many other films as I watched it, but I won’t list them to avoid spoiling the surprises. The acting fit the style of the film, and the black and white cinematography had a striking noir feel. In case you can’t tell, I loved it.

I’ll give it 4 stars out of 4 stars. It’s my favorite film of this and the previous several Cinequests. An earlier showing at Cinequest was the U.S. premiere.

Both seen 3/2/2009 at Cinequest.


One Response to “The Tour and Truffe

  1. Final Cinequest 19 Thoughts « Random Musings About Movies, Running, and More Says:

    […] Truffe— […]

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