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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'MAIN COURSE DIVORCE'
- Directed by Peter Stilla -

Main Course Divorce is a short film attempting to deconstruct marriage and love by use of sarcasm and parody. The opening scene in which Brett asks Gilda to.. divorce him in a traditional marriage proposal manner would perhaps be hilarious if treated in a realistic way. This way, it comes across as a farce and makes the viewer unsure and curious to find out where this story goes from here. This works hand in hand with the general idea of how confusing marriage can be for some couples who do not find harmony and balance in their family life. Intriguing at times, the film is extremely sarcastic.

 

The first couple (in their 20s), Brett and Gilda, is shown in a flimsy and materialistic light. 

 

The second couple (in their 30s), George and Sarah, is about to get a divorce the following month. 

 

The third couple (in their 40s), Victoria and Ted, who are on a date is yet another parody of love and marriage. Victoria wants to leave as she finds Ted "too nice for my taste". She rejects his behaviour as being "warm" but Ted confesses he is merely being "polite". Victoria is aroused by Ted's rudeness and stays. 

 

This is a world where money and materialism rules, a world in which feelings are for the weak. The only character in this film who could have added more depth to the treatment of such a heavy subject was Jack, the distressed man who speaks to his lawyer. The two of them are in the same restaurant as the other tree couples, El Molino, which makes money from people divorcing and getting married. It offers "33 percent off your meal for a divorce and proposal on the same night". So as to break all preconceptions, Brett proposes to Sarah on the same night. 

 

This film attacks conventional thoughts. There is a suggestion as to how rude and brutal people would become in the absence of love, when Ted speaks his mind out in very crude, pornographic language, much to Victoria's pleasure. 

 

The only counterbalance to this debauched world could have been Jack but unfortunately he is not contrasting enough and certainly not clear about his own feelings. He leaves the viewer hanging in the air with no answer to the dilemma raised by the question "Why would staying married be wrong? Or falling in love? Or staying in love?" His monologue could have given more depth to this film if it hadn't been so rational and if he would have shown his distress at being apart from the one he loves.  But he is not a hero in narrative terms and has no clarity, emotional intelligence or strength of character to go on his own journey of discovery and raise above his mediocre condition. He falls into the same misogynistic class as the rest of the male characters in this film. "Most men marry beautiful women. Why did I have to choose one with a great personality too?" 

 

This film functions as a caricature with grotesque nuances. The harsh conclusion is to be found in the advice the Manager gives to the waiter: "Find yourself a bitch of a wife to marry and divorce." as well as in the few lines the lawyer has to say: " Divorce and volatility, that's where the money is." If the intention of this film was to portray how grotesquely divorce and mercantile interests make people behave, then this film is a success. We are left with a sickness in our stomachs and a disillusion at how petty humans can become in the absence of love. 

 

By comparison with this strong message, we would have liked to hear a less intrusive sound track, to see a more courageous cinematography and more nuanced acting choices. 

 

Altogether we believe this short film is interesting to watch and has the power to make the audience think and reconsider their beliefs on marriage and divorce. 

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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest,

Images provided by Stephen Brace and Jason Hargrove

have not been altered and are used in compliance with CC License.