Culture  Nouveau Cinema: The Lovebirds

Tonight, 5:20 p.m. and Sunday 12 October, 9:20 p.m. at Ex-Centris

Artsy-indieness does not guarantee success. The Lovebirds is a film that attempts to do too much but achieves too little, resulting in a piss-poor imitation of the 2006 ensemble of short films, Paris Je T’aime.

The Lovebirds is a compilation of eight relationships unfolding on a single night in Lisbon, Portugal. Each narrative is completely different, attempting to untangle stories of lust, murder, drugs, and failed friendships. It sounds like you’d get some juicy action, right? Wrong.

The director glues some stories together, leaving others neglected. There’s no climax, no resolution, not even a bloody cliffhanger. Jumping from two buddies at an archeological site to a rich man and his mistress in a hotel room, the unifying theme is either absent or just undetectable.

At one point, the character of a Portuguese director compares filmmaking to boxing: you’ve got passion, love, fantasy, jealousy, and neurosis. The end result is that all these mixed emotions come together, like a crazy Jackson Pollock piece – or like a kindergartner’s finger-painting project.

It feels like the director made the first half of each short story, then got bored and left it there. Like a night of bad sex, you’re left thinking, “Is that it?”

– Veronica French