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April 29, 2007

Semen: A Love Story

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Semen: Una Historia de Amor
Daniela Fejerman & Ines Paris - 2005
Warner Brothers Region 1 DVD

There was this routine by the Sixties comedy act, The Smothers Brothers. Dick described as song as being poignant. Tom, playing dumb, asked what poignant meant. Dick's explanation of the word was "pregnant with feeling". Tom introduced the song as being about a girl who was nine months poignant. With the Smothers Brothers definition in mind, Semen is a poignant comedy about artificial insemination.

Actually the film is a bit more than that. Fejerman and Paris' previous film, My Mother likes Women was a bit of fluff that could be described as "Almodovar-lite" in its look at three sisters dismayed by their mother's unexpected choice in love. Even though this new film sidesteps several serious issues concerning medical ethics, the romance between a clumsy doctor and a trapeze artist is given a sense of both literal and symbolic gravity by the lead actors.

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The story gets progressively more preposterous. This is the kind of whimsical story telling that European filmmakers are more adept at making. Argentinian actor Ernesto Alterio plays the young doctor who literally falls in love. Leticia Dolera charms as the trapeze artist and her twin sister. The filmmakers who both write and direct as a team are interested in comic explorations of not only family dynamics, but in alternative families. Even if certain plot points collapse under casual scrutiny, there is a sincerity about the proceedings, so much so that I feel too much respect, prefering to avoid the puns one can easily shoot off with a title like Semen.

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Daniela Fejerman and Ines Paris

Posted by peter at April 29, 2007 12:13 AM