Entertainment » Movies

I Am Happiness on Earth

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Sunday Oct 26, 2014
I Am Happiness on Earth

When the Cahiers du cinéma created the idea of an art film and even worse an auteur, it unleashed generations of narcissistic men who could now justify obscure, pretentious bullshit. Incomprehensibly became a good thing, and directors began acting as though they did their own photography, wrote their own screenplays and acted every part themselves.

"I Am Happiness On Earth" ("Yo soy la felicidad de este mundo"), the latest work of the Mexican filmmaker Julián Hernández ("A Thousand Clouds of Peace," "Broken Sky," "Raging Sun, Raging Sky"), has all the trappings of an art film and more (it even has the conceit of being a "film about filmmaking"), but if you have the strength and concentration for it, this self-aware and self-absorbed movie proves to be so much more than a low-budget, gay "8 ½." It's an absorbing (and very sexy) narrative puzzle.

Emiliano (Hugo Catalan) is a famous filmmaker who creates dance-film documentaries and art house examinations of the futility of marriage. But when the work day is through, he has a pension for seducing hard-bodied male dancers -- in particular Octavio (Alan Ramírez) -- and eager-to-please sex workers, Jazn (Emilio von Sternenfels). With a passion for both work and play, Emiliano finds it difficult to distinguish objectively real people from the images of people he creates in his head.

It's all the stuff that film school would teach you to be bad grammar, but these things can be exciting to piece together, especially when they're accompanied by smoldering seductions, hot naked bodies and lusciously photographed sex.

It helps to look at this film in terms of the language of filmmaking rather than in terms of story. Sometimes the way two shots are cut together is not narratively consistent. It's confusing as to where two characters are in relation to each other, even though we know they're standing in the same room. Time is not linear, and it is often not clear if we are watching Emiliano's film or his life. It's all the stuff that film school would teach you to be bad grammar. But these things can be exciting to piece together, especially when they're accompanied by smoldering seductions, hot naked bodies and lusciously photographed sex.

This DVD comes with four of the director's short films - which are not only wonderfully erotic in and of themselves - they give great insight into the filmmaker's burgeoning technique.

"Bramadero" stands out in particular. In this "each-man-kills-the-thing-he-loves" story, we seen the probing close ups, the long takes, the constantly circling shots, and the cuts that never quite allow us to correctly identify the space the characters inhabit.


"I Am Happiness On Earth"
DVD
www.bgpics.com

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