Sunday, April 02, 2006

Yellow pajamas

The Pyjama Girl Case is a very peculiar movie. It's an Italian movie that takes place in Australia and very loosely taken from a true story, The Pyjama Girl. In fact, the documentary feature on the new DVD is an interview with Richard Evans, author of The Pyjama Girl Mystery: A True Story of Murder, Obsession and Lies which seems not to be available in the US, that mostly discusses the actual case, which seems quite fascinating.

The movie is worthwhile on its own terms, however. Telling the story of a very lonely woman and her lovers, including her husband, a troubled Italian immigrant. To acknowledge that the movie is structured in a very interesting way may already give away too much. To acknowledge the the performances are mostly quite good, which is indeed more impressive since the dubbing is not, and the viewer partly must look through the dubbing to view the real performances. Ray Milland, in particular, is fun to watch and seemed actually to be having fun himself. Mel Ferrer seems wasted in a role that any handsome older man could have played.

The thing that was most interesting was how director Flavio Mogherini holds the most obscene and uncomfortable moments long past their comfort zones, most obviously the scene of people looking at the mangled and yet enticing corpse. It seems to take forever, examining the body as well as the people and their reactions, horror, freakshow amusement, sadness, disinterest, etc. as they passed by. That alone was worth watching the movie for.

And in a compelling story and flashback in which a woman who has just said she never noticed her girl friend had, y'know, those kind of feelings for her, except... Well, there was that one time she invited her to stay over because of the storm and her friend responded by taking off her top, turning out the lights, spooning her and gently touching her face. Aside from that one subtle incident, she had never noticed an attraction...

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