Venus in Eros: Cannes 2011 Review

The cinematic equivalent of sitting in front of a store window and gaping at the mannequins for 80 minutes.

Director Takako Imai's latest film is equal to sitting in front of a store window and staring at mannequins for nearly 90 minutes.

CANNES -- Director Takako  Venus in Eros is not so much a movie as it is a museum display, as three largely stationary figures are clothed to represent different sides of  beauty and sexuality. Twixt these prolonged mannequin scopings, filmmaker Takako Imai intercuts with a broad range of stirring landscape shots, which supposedly cast perspective on whatever is not happening.

Overall, best venues might be side rooms in under-funded museums.
The best thing this British film has going for it is its title, Venus in Eros, which suggests a certain distillation and commentary on the inter-relation of beauty and eroticism. No such illuminations are revealed in this impotent offering. It's flaccid camera work – long holds on statuesque figures -- supposedly infuse depth and meaning but rather inspire napping. 
In this static Market offering, there's a lot of posing but no real acting. Because it's somber, with a grating musical score, some might be tricked into thinking Venus has substance. However, boring and annoying does not equal “serious” filmmaking, even by the standards of  film-festival  poseurs. 
On the plus side, the film is resuscitated in parts by a rousing, piano onslaught of minor keys and flashy arpeggios.  
At 80 minutes, it's one very long film, but could be revived with a 76-minute trim. That would leave the nature shots, which could be cut and re-marketed as screensavers.
Venue: Cannes Film Festival, Market
Production company: RME Films
Cast: Saori Hara, Sonoya Mizuno, Alan Vincent, Darren Ellis, Martin Collins
Director/producer: Takako Imai
Directors of photography: Jay Dacey, Peter Ditch, Nick Gordon Smith. 
Music: Libera, Tempei
Editor: Dominic Jacobs
No rating,  80 minutes