If you’ve ever seen a Film Movement DVD, you know the people there have a favorable prejudice for quirky and unusual foreign films. So guess what Lake Tahoe (Mexico 2008) by writer – director Fernando Eimbcke is? You have never seen anything quite like this movie and that is probably why you are a foreign film fan. Lake Tahoe was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival and won two other awards there.
You certainly need to have an acquired cinematic taste for Lake Tahoe to work for you. I sort of have one and had difficulty with it. The pacing is slow, character and story development are slow, and Eimbcke has an unusual approach to camera angles, how to tell a story, and how long an image should be held.
Juan crashes his car against a post. He walks a while to the nearest village and tries to find help. This is more complicated and at times comical than you would think. Juan encounters Don Heber, owner of the third garage he goes to, Lucia, the clerk at the third auto parts store he goes to, and David, a kung fu fan who may or may not be able to fix his car.
The repair seems to be relatively simple. Getting the repair, on the other hand, is very complicated.
Eimbcke has a photographer’s eye and approach to his film. Some might say too much so, making some scenes quite static. Also, he very much indulges in fading to black, sometimes for more than a minute. This gets a little annoying, really.
Two thirds into Lake Tahoe, you learn what is going on with Juan. Only at the very end of the movie do you get the meaning of this foreign film DVD’s title.
In the liner notes the director says this film is about escape. Hmmm
The short feature included here is Noodles, a dialogue free film by Jordan Feldman made in France and set in a noodle shop. This one is also unusual.