Saturday, January 15, 2005

“Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review” reviews “FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions”

Richard Scheib reviews “FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions” for Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review:

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions is a debut feature film from Spanish director Carlos Atanes. Carlos Atanes is a 33-year-old director from Barcelona who has previously made a number of short films. Atanes subsequently went onto make the excellent, reality-bending Proxima(2007) wherein a science-fiction fan makes contact with aliens.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions is a dystopian film. It could almost be, if one could imagine, a variation on George Lucas’s THX 1138(1971) conducted as a French arthouse movie. There are many similarities to THX 1138 – a future where the controllers of society are obsessed with hygiene and sex is forbidden; where the background of the future is dominated by anonymous voices urging the population to social obedience; and a very similar plot arc where the hero engages in a forbidden liaison with a woman, they are captured, she killed, her breeding capacities resurrected and he flees into an ambiguous place of escape.

For a debuting director, Carlos Atanes’s style and handling of actors has a considerable deal of professional polish. He gets good performances from in particular lead actor Xavier Tort, who has a role that essentially requires to remain passive throughout but where he nevertheless manages to convey quite a degree of expressiveness seemingly with his prominent bareforehead. Atanes’s depiction of the future is conducted with a spartan minimalism – the controlling cabal of the future consists of three women meeting around a table in a backroom, for instance, while, as in Alphaville (1965), the future is merely contemporary Paris. And Atanes directs a coolly alienating disquiet that holds one’s interest. Particularly impressive here is the musical score, which is composed by the lead actor Xavier Tort, consisting of soulful sax, piano and opera to often haunting effect.”

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