30 March 2010


L'iceberg, a film by Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, and Bruno Romy, is a surreal comedy showcasing the dream of an alienated woman who longs to see an iceberg. She realises her desire one day after she accidentally traps herself in a walk-in freezer at a fast food chain where she works. Somehow this experience miraculously makes her realise how alienating her everyday life is, especially when, after a night of entrapment, she goes home to find that her family hasn't actually realised that she's not home. Bitter and confused, she finds herself more and more attracted to ice and coldness.

What the film nicely portrays through their odd cinematography and eccentric acting of main characters is the distinction between a city and a seaside town. The former is a breeding ground of angst and alienation, whereas the latter is the place where our main actress, Fiona, realises what she really wants -- the dream of seeing an iceberg -- and the man she really wants, a deaf sailor who owns a small boat aptly called Le Titanique. Rene is pitted up against her husband both in terms of dress and behaviour and it's no wonder why Fiona falls for Rene, as he's portrayed as a Heathcliff-style hunk who talks less but seems to ooze passion and depth, the exact features that go well with the ocean where he works.

However, with the film of this kind, a stereotypical ending where Rene and Fiona fall in love with each other and live together ever after is not going to happen. Fiona does see an iceberg in the end but it doesn't last, like one's dream that ironically loses its fizz once it is fulfilled. What perhaps is more interesting is to see that one still struggles for it nonetheless and one doesn't know what life will bring next. I know that this kind of moral twist is pretty boring and, to be honest, predictable, but L'iceberg does cast a fresh light on this twist via surrealistically minimalist dialogue, setting, and acting. This minimalism is somehow cast against the vastness of the ocean and the dream and aspiration of Fiona herself.

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