Monday, December 06, 2010

Stephanie Barber and Xav Leplae's razor's edge

From Reverse Shot, a review of the New York Film Festival's screening:

. . . afflicted by the traumas of war, though at a far remove, was Stephanie Barber and Xav LePlae’s razor’s edge (2010), a dramatization of the Somerset Maugham novel The Razor’s Edge. Maugham’s story of postwar dissolution is only vaguely remembered in Barber and LePlae’s escapade, more an occasion of the friends’ reconnection after long years of absence than any kind of adaptation, and the film could be understood as the wild, unpredictable flowering that grows from the settling of things past. As the pair dances in an extreme wide shot on a downtown Baltimore rooftop, or passes an invisible mass of energy back and forth in the background of a Korean restaurant, their melodramatic theatrics are met with quizzical looks from bystanders. They are misunderstood by the world around them, and probably a fair number of people in the audience, yet however removed or inscrutable the creative logic underpinning their collaboration, it’s impossible to miss the film’s effervescent sense of joy. Stuffed in a too-tight leisure suit, LePlae fumbles with the objects in a barbershop, while Barber, dressed in a mustard yellow evening gown, stumbles drunk across the front of an abandoned grocery store. Like a pair of silent film comedians, they move gleefully against the rhythms of the city, and in the process they create their own intrepid and improbable itinerary through Baltimore’s empty lots and the pages of Maugham’s book. . . .

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