Vapor

Vapor

***

Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

This is a powerful piece of film-making, an excellent example of the medium's capacity to aspire to, and achieve, art. Based on a true story, it's a portrait of a man accepting his identity. With minimal dialogue, Kaveh Nabatian's film is delicate in places, affecting, but almost always visually striking.

Mexico City is our location, a man's retirement. He is played by Marco Ledezma, who manages a lot, saying little. His commitment to the role would appear to include shaving his head, and as is often the case footage of such transformations bear a certain innate weight. Here it seems to be part of a wider acceptance, in particular of his sexuality. There are implications of family, an obvious suggestion of suppression, and on the horizon, revelation.

Copy picture

He's to participate in a photoshoot, to be published in a magazine. A clearer coming out could not really be arranged, but it would seem that now is the time.

With muted palette in places, black and white in others, this is striking in appearance. Christopher Collette's cinematography and Camille Parent's art direction are subtly done, drawing lots from relatively sparse locations and Ledezma's taciturn performance. With the score including Mozart's Lacrimosa and instrumental Montreal act Bell Orchestre it sounds good too. Their track Icicles/Bicycles informs the work, not least with the sense of looping - footage slowed, dream-like in places.

Dedicated to its inspiration, it's a touching film, visually impressive and well constructed. Where it suffers, perhaps, is that it is a short - there's room here for more. Indeed, while it covers similar territory to A Single Man in its focus on a transformative period of someone's life it doesn't touch on anything else. The intense focus on the personal, on one man at such a moment is affecting, but it does not, perhaps cannot, answer questions as to what follows. Its real weakness comes, one suspects, from its biographical origins - it is an interesting story, a powerful one, but not necessarily a satisfying narrative.

Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2011
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A Mexican man discovers that life becomes richer when he challenges his own prejudices.
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Director: Kaveh Nabatian

Year: 2010

Runtime: 11 minutes

Country: Canada

Festivals:

Glasgow 2011

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If you like this, try:

Milk
A Serious Man
A Single Man