Perfect Garden


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Perfect Garden
"Turning a sandwich upside-down does not tend to constitute innovation."

Liquid Loft are an arts collective, some choreographers, some dramaturges, there's at least one poet. If you've heard of them, if you're interested in seeing something that contains at least a measure of modern dance in the cinema, then Perfect Garden won't completely disappoint.

There's a few elements repeated: the word noodles; gyratory dance; a piece of swinging surf guitar; a corridor down which people stumble as if under attack from the Klingon Empire; a 'bar' in leafy woodland with a stage and a bedroom; a proverb, "paradise can be found on the backs of horses, in books, and [in]between the breasts of women". Note the exclusion of gardens, perfect or otherwise, though there are plenty of women - scantily clad, wandering to the riverside in lingerie and lizard-print heels, shouting words at the water and throwing their coat to the ground. A wild woman talks about trees, suggesting that they're always used in metaphors - your tree of life, family tree, in Darwin's theory, but here's one without - Perfect Garden is an empty nightclub in the daytime.

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There's no reason to go there, it's not the right place or time, it feels sad, tattered, earnest in the wrong direction, like there might have been bombast and with the right crowd and later on it might have worked, but for now - mopping, broken bottles, opportunity cost with a ticket price.

There are a few moments that resemble Lynch, the colour palette would seem to borrow but might just actually be the kitsch he sometimes reflects upon. The Russian gangster with the soul of a philosopher who finds the meaning of life after talking to a strip-club proprietor after being serenaded with a cigar-box guitar is not in and of itself a cliche, but turning a sandwich upside-down does not tend to constitute innovation.

There are occasional stretches of metronomic beats and bits of unsubtitled German and a radio advert for the Lincoln Towncar, but this is sound and motion, signifying nothing. It's not anything special to look at, even with a mushroom-fuelled meditation on breakfast it's never particularly comic, and there are better things to do with ones time. To borrow a line from the film, "and now I ask why?" - Why, indeed?

Reviewed on: 24 Jun 2014
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A surreal and visceral journey into human desire.

Director: Chris Haring, Mara Mattuschka

Writer: Chris Haring, Mara Mattuschka

Year: 2013

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: Austria


EIFF 2014

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