(Air Date: Week Of 12/18/96)
Flirt is dead-pan, droll and rife with the terrors of committment. Photographed in a minimilist style that's hand in glove with its mannerist leanings, the mode of presentation is not the least delight to be savored here. The film spins three tales of three flirts navigating the vagaries of the human heart. What we learn is that even as the wages of sin are death, the wages of flirting are also non-trivial.
Three flirts, three stories, one plot. Bill, the SoHo hunk who's balancing his current girlfriend, who's cheating on her boyfriend, against a new prospect who would be cheating on her husband. Dwight, who's balancing his German boyfriend, who's cheating on HIS boyfriend, against a new prospect who would be cheating on his wife and finally, Miho, and her American boyfriend, who's...- you get the picture.
Each tale uses the same dialogue and situations. And just when you think, "O no, not again," it tweaks things just enough to surprise you. By the time the action shifts to Japan, dialogue and scenes have become fluid, the order of action no longer matters. It's tilt-a-world with all the thrills and none of the motion-sickness. Rahsomon you ask? Not quite. It's the locale that changes here in the realm of contingent reality, not the point of view . This is more an homage to the Goldberg Variations, if you will forgive a cross-discipline comparison.
Another plus, and a big plus it is - the characters speak in complete sentences. Heck, they even muster a complete paragraph or two. Not only that, but what they have to say actually lends itself to serious mulling over, particularly the Greek chorus of extras consulted by each flirt as he or she reaches his or her moment of truth. And it's one of these chorus's that pulls off the tightest of movie tightrope tricks - self-reference. After their flirt exits stage left, they disarmingly discuss among themselves whether or not the filmmaker is making a success of the film in progress. They aren't entirely convinced.
Maybe they aren't, but I am. So, after you've gorged yourself logey on holiday fluff of the cinematic variety, Flirt offers you a little something substantial that you can really sink your teeth into.Copyright 1997 Andrea Chase
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