THE DUNE (LA DUNE) | MOVIE REVIEW

This film THE DUNE (aka LA DUNE) is our last review from the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) Israeli Film Festival playing around the county at the moment, sadly it is also the only film we viewed at the festival that we were not a fan of. In following on from our reviews from the festival of THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHERNEXT TO HER aka AT LI LAYLA and KIDON we give you this, our final, review from the festival. You can catch the AICE Israeli Film Festival all around Australia commencing 19th August and going through to September 7th (see their website for further details and to purchase tickets). Kernel Andrew reviews this film. It runs for 90mins and has a festival rating (it looks M). As a point of reference, if Andrew is calling a film slow, it is slow, he thoroughly enjoys those 3hr Russian films that do nothing for the entire running time, I actually assumed this would be his favourite film from the festival :). Enjoy Andrew’s review below…….all the best…….JK.

 

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THE DUNE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

The Dune (La Dune) is the directorial debut of cinematographer Yossi Aviram (Under The Same Sun). It is a joint French / Israeli co-production and is voiced in both languages.

What can be said about this movie? If Forrest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates” then after seeing this movie he would have said this one is some seriously bland dark cooking chocolate. I was waiting for this meandering mystery movie to give me some other tastes besides the bleak and the obscure. It really is that bland.

In essence this is an existential thriller about Hanoch (Lior Ashkenazi), a quiet man living in an unnamed city in Israel. Hanoch fixes bikes for a living and plays chess as a pastime. Early on there is a confronting scene where Hanoch refuses to have a baby with his girlfriend (Dana Adini). He pushes her to get an abortion and after the procedure is kicked out of the house. From here he takes off altogether, winding up in Paris (on a bicycle!) for unknown reasons.

There are a few scenes of Hanoch riding through the French countryside and then a total scene shift. Hanoch suddenly shows up unconscious on a beach in the southwest Landes region. He is discovered and taken to the nearby hospital. Here he falls under the prying eyes of Reuven (Niels Astrup) a retiring Parisian detective with ties to this region of his own.

 

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THE DUNE | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CHARACTERS IN A FIELD

 

I honestly won’t spoil the rest of the wafer thin storyline. Using minimal action to move the narrative forward, Aviram sets up a mystery that’s fairly easy to solve. In all honesty each scene seems to hover at maximum boredom levels and despite the decent premise (although how the hell the man woke up on the beach is anybody’s guess) manages to reach maximum bore pretty quickly. It is a shame as there are some great actors in this movie who I have seen in other pictures. The two principles Niels Arestrup in A PROPHET and Lior Ashkenazi in FOOTNOTE are two regular standouts.

If there was more dialogue or some plot device to move the scenes forward we may have a decent shot at a half-baked mystery. Unfortunately, neither Hanoch nor Reuven do or say much of anything at all. What is worse after washing up on the beach Hanoch goes mute altogether so we have lost half of the dialogue of the picture right there. This is not a problem per say but there is nothing in Antoine Heberle’s cinematography of note to keep any form of attention.

There are some bright lights in terms of the supporting cast. Emma de Caunes (from the brilliant THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP), plays a local pregnant woman. The excellent Guy Marchand, plays Reuven’s long-term boyfriend. Both manage to add some pep into the step of this movie but not enough of it.

The only plus I could find from this movie was some quite excellent atmospheric sound design by Gil Toren. That’s really about it. You know where this is heading pretty early but even once it is resolved you don’t really care and are just glad it is over.

I was thoroughly bored by this movie and am not sure how this won Best Debut at the Haifa Film Festival. Go figure.

 

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Apologies – cannot find a trailer with English subtitles. But this will give you an idea.