First Run Features

NEW YORK -- This Belgian slapstick comedy combines elements of silent film-style physical humor and clown theater to less than hilarious effect. While there are some undeniably well-crafted and amusing moments in "L'Iceberg," the film is ultimately undone by its air of overly mannered preciousness. It is currently playing an exclusive theatrical engagement at New York City's Cinema Village.

Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy wrote, directed and also acted in this wacky effort, featuring a plethora of sight gags clearly influenced by such filmmakers as Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati.

When fast-food restaurant manager Fiona (Gordon) gets locked overnight in a freezer, she returns home only to find that her hangdog-faced husband (Abel) and children haven't missed her. More to the point, she finds that the experience has instilled in her a fascination for all things cold and icy. Hitching a ride in the back of a frozen-food delivery truck, she heads to the frozen seas, pursued by her husband and aided by a deaf-mute sailor (Philippe Martz), in the hopes of having a close encounter with an iceberg.

Featuring minimal dialogue or music and plenty of lengthy wide-shot takes, the film is ultimately more fussy than amusing, though it well displays the considerable physical comic talents of its performers. The gangly Gordon, looking and acting somewhat like Shelley Duvall in her "Popeye" days, is a gifted physical comedienne, and Abel delivers a series of hilarious deadpan reactions that would make Keaton envious.