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Cold Souls (2009)
A soul searching comedy.
Filmmaker(s): Sophie Barthes

Paul is agonising over his interpretation of 'Uncle Vanya' and, paralysed by anxiety, stumbles upon a solution via a New Yorker article about a high-tech company promising to alleviate suffering by extracting souls. He enlists their services—only to discover that his soul is the shape and size of a chickpea.

Cold Souls (2009)


This is depressing, because it is not merely bad, it stomps on some very precious ideas.

The fault is in trying to be Woody Allen; even he fails most of the time. There is a deep concept here, but it is obscured by the attempt to wrap it in humor.

The thing worth noticing:

This is a film about performance. Actors have a cursed life in that they have to fill themselves by emptying themselves. The full life is the life committed to potential waste. We are all actors. These concepts first appeared in drama in the famous Vanya of Chekhov. ‘Vanya on 42nd Street‘ changed that into a layered folding, making the connection to life outside of the theatre explicit.

Here, Giamatti plays the role of Wallace Shawn in ‘Vanya on 42nd.‘

David Strathairn plays the same role he did in the similar ‘Limbo,‘ while Dina Korzun adapts the Audrey Tautou role from ‘Dirty Pretty Things.‘

Even the secondary characters are pulled from cold storage with Lauren Ambrose asked to stand in for the Alicia Witt role in ‘Liebestraum.‘ All of those referenced films repackage Vanya‘s notions which are deep and disturbing, as suicidally disturbing as they were for the uncle.

There is a way to handle this with humour, I am sure, but Barthes does not find it. She empties and does not fill.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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