What follows is 155 minutes of beautifully photographed tedium, repetition, an occasional Tarkovskian vision (Ventura sits on a broken pink armchair in the gray doorway of his “daughter” Bele; it is mirrored when he sits on a radiant antique sofa in a museum), lengthy Brechtian recitations, and comatose performances. At times it seems a parody of an art movie fit for an episode of “Sprockets.” (My notes on one 10-minute scene: “She coughs. He sneezes three times. She sneezes once.”)
Slow as the story is to unfold, it is also inconsistent and utterly confusing. Countering the hypnotic pull of the pace is the frustrating need to make sense of it all. Is Ventura deranged? Are his experiences relived memories or conjured hallucinations? Or is it that his wife killed him and the film is Hell, his eternal punishment and ours.
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