September 20, 2014
New feature Aprox is a dull essay on body language
For the Herald
The Argentine feature Aprox, by Víctor Kesselman, is meant to be an insightful essay on body language in our everyday life, and is inspired by a sales handbook from the 1980s that places such issues within the workplace environment. What is the meaning of our gestures? Are they that easy to decode? Is there really a unique way to understand what people say when they choose not to speak with their voices?
And while you may say that Aprox does explore many of these questions, the truth is that it’s hardly a film worth watching: there is no hint of cinematic language here. Instead, just imagine an informative product made by, let’s say, an institution devoted to the teaching of body language that wanted to make something new and innovative. So it is — partly — a faux documentary. Then there’s a fictional side to it, which includes some elements of comedy and musical that are about as funny as getting stuck in a traffic jam.
The huge problem here is not so much the premise, but the fact that it’s very poorly executed in all regards. For instance, picture a long, long series of different situations where people express different ideas — and at the end, they might be explained. Sometimes you have to figure them out on your own. But the elaboration of these sequences and scenes is so rudimentary, the camerawork is so inexpressive, the acting is so unconvincing, and the cinematography is so flat that it’s virtually impossible to pay attention to the undeniably interesting universe of body language.
Aprox has probably been made with the best intentions, but that hardly makes a difference. Its themes are appealing, and it seems that they have been researched thoroughly. Too bad there hasn’t been an equally professional approach when it comes to employing the many elements of the language of cinema.
Limited release: Gaumont
Aprox (Argentina, 2014). Directed by Víctor Kesselman. Written by Bruno Gerondi, Víctor Kesselman and Viviana Vázquez. Editing by Oscar Saporitti, Gustavo Gorzalczany. Cinematography by Federico Nessim. Running time: 75 minutes.