Friday, December 12, 2014

Film on Friday #27 - Lines of Wellington

Today's film on Friday feature is Lines of Wellington from director Valeria Sarmiento. As with all Film Movement features, it has been an official selection of numerous film festivals.

This historical film is set in the time of the Napoleonic Wars. The lines are Wellington's fortifications, built over 18 months to turn back the invading French.  The film is told through the eyes of numerous characters - a British major, a Portuguese sergeant, and some of those following the war - a prostitute, a mute beggar, a travelling merchant, a wealthy pair of siblings and more.

We are treated to vignettes, both past and present as Sarmiento explores war and its effects on all classes. I became caught up in many of the stories, particularly that of the mute beggar and the Portuguese sergeant. Some of them seemed awkward though, and not to belong - such as the sister of the siblings and her sexual appetites.

I didn't know much about this time period and actually learned quite a bit.

Although John Malkovitch has been given front and centre on the cover, he is really only onscreen for a small amount of time - part of that is reciting the recipe for Beef Wellington. I found it very hard to take him seriously. The other actors, none of whom I knew, were really good. As was the setting and the extras. (although their clothing seemed a little too clean for being on the road)

The film is 150 minutes long, and I ended up watching in two sittings. And honestly, my attention was starting to wander a bit. I enjoyed Lines of Wellington, but not as much as other viewers.  As always, there is a bonus short film included. Two Laps was quite funny - a story of two older gentleman and their annual swimming match.

France and Portugal/2012/Portuguese, English and French with English subtitles/151 minutes.

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