Wednesday, June 24, 2009

American Working Class Road Movie

Even though I rate this film as A Must-See I want to warn prospective viewers that I had qualms with the presentation of the film at the Bytowne Cinema [6/23/09] due to the poor quality and unfixable out of focus print they were screening. This has been my first experience with a shoddy screening at the Bytowne and hopefully they can resolve this in the future.-D.D.


Goodbye Solo (Ramin Bahrani, 2008)
*** (A Must-See)

A very moving picture. William (Red West) offers a taxi driver Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané ) 1000$ to take him to a secluded mountainous destination Blowing Rock. Solo noting his pessimism, and suspects a possible suicide attempt, brings him into his home and life with the intent that his humanity could change his mind. Solo shares with William his house, work, aspirations, family and friends. William visits and exchanges small talk with his son, unknown to the boy that he is his father, who man's a ticket booth at a movie theater on a regular basis. His only pleasurable experiences in what is a drab and solitudinous life. Eventually Solo’s prying creates a rift between the two. Only after a reluctant reconciliation, Solo, with his daughter Alex (Diana Franco Galindo), hesitantly drives William to Blowing Rock. Acknowledging William’s suicide (which appears off-screen) Solo drives back home with his daughter trying to gather the strength to move on after what he has just experienced.

A very driven film. The majority of the scenes are filmed in the dark night and all you can see are the street lights and illuminary cars. The driving scenes are full of social realities as Solo spends his nights away from his wife working, at a job he does not enjoy (he drives degenerate passengers with a look of overriding unhappiness), driving around, and getting in trouble with, a drug dealer friend, and studying for a flight attendent position, brushing upon racial prejudices, that he has already been turned down for once, even though he was more then qualified for the position. As a working class taxi driver being on the road, either in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, or on the countryside, means a transitory experience of contemplation, melancholy, and seclusion. The automobile becomes a metaphor for our perpetual search for authenticity and redemption that is seldom attained.-David Davidson

(Bytowne Cinema, 324 Rideau Street, 19/06 - 25/06)

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