1307763746_a_love_affair_of_sorts_wallpaperIs this film available for rent on Netflix Watch Instant and/or through the iTunes Store?  A Love Affair of Sorts is not available for rent at Netflix Watch Instant or at the iTunes Store. It is not available for DVD rental either, but you can rent the film streaming at Amazon Prime.

Starring: David Guy Levy, Lili Bordan, Ivan Kamaras, & Jonathan Beckerman (as himself)

Directed by: David Guy Levy

Screenplay by: David Guy Levy & Lili Bordan

A Love Affair of Sorts was publicized as the first film that was made entirely through the use of the Flip camera. Although I recognized the camera in the film, I had to look up what a Flip camera was on Wikipedia. Somehow this distinction is not as enticing as the first 3D film or the first digital film, especially for a technology that has already been discontinued by Cisco (its parent company owner) and one whose recognition and popularity in the pop cultural zeitgeist was never high enough to warrant any sort of publicity.

Co-writer, director, and star (and founder of distributor production company Periscope Entertainment) David Guy Levy debuts his first film, which is a DIY (Do It Yourself) indie romantic film set in Los Angeles (and you know you’re in L.A. because everyone talks about doing Buddhist chanting) during the Christmas holiday season about a painter (Levy himself) with a Flip camera who meets a Hungarian nanny, Enci (Lili Bordan) in a bookstore (anyone who knows the name of this bookstore, please feel free to drop me a line). He convinces Enci to take part in his experimental movie project that he hopes will allow the two of them to get to know each other. He will film Enci and she will film David. The two of them begin to develop a vague sort of relationship that gets complicated when David discovers that Enci has a boyfriend (Ivan Kamaras). The film also features David’s friend, who is played by Jonathan Beckerman, who in turn does not play a character but instead was led to believe that David Guy Levy and Lili Bordan had a relationship in real life. It was only after the film was complete that Beckerman was told that he participated in a fictional film.

A Love Affair of Sorts is the sort of movie I would expect to see in a beginner video production class. It is poorly shot (to be fair, that is probably intentional because the two main characters are shooting their own movie), it lacks any narrative structure, and with a few exceptions, the characters are not interesting, which is especially true of David Guy Levy. Despite its intentional low-tech shooting style, the film should have still strived to visually elevate itself above a typical YouTube video and it would not have taken much effort to give the film some semblance of an aesthetic style (for example, both The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, albeit both are horror films, effectively use low-tech techniques to establish a mood). Instead we are left with hideous looking shots that illustrate just how ugly modern technology can and often does capture reality.

The film is beset with problems, but the biggest one is that of our main character, David Guy Levy. I do not know whether he is playing a character or simply being himself. Nevertheless, Levy lacks screen presence throughout the film. Whenever the camera is pointed at him, Levy looks bored and he never has anything significant to say except for one scene where he breaks down at a park and laments the fact that he spends most of his time not thinking about anything. I could never understand what Enci could have possibly seen in David to attract her to him. I found it implausible that Enci would leave her far more charming Hungarian boyfriend for someone as uninteresting as David.

As for Enci, she is slightly more fascinating to watch. She is given more dialogue and most of the scenes seem to revolve around her life. Consequently, her character is better developed, but even so, I didn’t learn enough about her background (nor did I learn enough about David’s background) to establish any connection toward them. The parameters of these characters’ relationship and what they want from each other is so vaguely established from the beginning that I didn’t know what I should want these characters to end up doing with each other. Should they become friends, lovers, acquaintances? Moreover, David and Enci remark how empty their lives are, but aside from any further insights or commentary on the state of their lives, we the audience are forced to watch how vapid (AKA boring) their lives are. Other than literally watching paint dry on a wall, there is nothing more mind-numbing a filmmaker can put on screen.

The film’s best scenes involve characters that I wish received a lot more screen time. One of the best scenes in the film is when Enci meets up with her boyfriend and they go out on a dinner date with David accompanying them. In the short amount of time he is on camera, the boyfriend exudes charm and a strong screen presence that neither David nor Enci could pull off during the entire film. The second interesting “character” is David’s photographer/artist friend. What makes him so interesting is really not his “character” but really the fact that he was playing himself and he was unaware that David Guy Levy was making a fictional movie. So what you see is his friend’s real and honest reactions to David’s relationship with Enci.

I could not tell from the film how long David and Enci spent making their little movie, but it would have been nice to have seen what these two people do for a living and how they pay the bills, rent, mortgage on the nice digs they live in. The film’s final act delves into being a film-within-a-film as the actress playing Enci decides to move in with David and stop playing Enci. Their relationship then takes a wrong turn after David supposedly screws up and Enci leaves him. None of this sheds more light on our characters and I was confused as to why David and Enci continued to film themselves after their “break up” and after their film was over.

A Love Affair of Sorts is an exercise in self-indulgence that is supposed to be an example of “reflexive cinema.” However long was spent planning this movie out, the end result is sloppy and forgettable immediately after the last frame of the film flashes by.

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