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Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
7/6/2007 through 7/8/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson

The workers at a fast-food restaurant are heading home for the night when we first meet Fiona, but this won't be an ordinary night for her. For a life-defining moment occurs when Fiona accidentally catches her scarf as she enters the freezer, pulling the door shut behind her.

Ingeniously surviving until discovered the next morning, Fiona and her world will never be the same. When she realizes her perfect nuclear family consisting of husband Julian, son and daughter didn't notice she wasn't home, nothing can hold her back from pursuing her holy grail""an iceberg where she will take up residence. She flees, of course, to the sea and finds herself, at first, with a droll group. But still determined, Fiona moves on with her reluctant associate in the expedition, mute Rene the Sailor. Julian frantically follows, determined to bring Fiona back to her family life.

The lion's share of this 84-minute film revolves entirely around Fiona's quest for an iceberg which writers/directors Fiona Gordon (the Fiona of the film), Dominique Abel, and Bruno Romy present with perhaps 15 minutes of dialogue. The filmmaking trio prefers the silent film style of, for example, Jacques Tati. Using primarily long shots and long takes, they let the slapstick action unfold at a measured pace, though there are some accelerated antics in isolated moments. How viewers feel about the intentionally silly plot and sillier characters will determine their reactions from amusement to boredom. I loved the clever staging and clowning in several scenes while I became impatient during others, especially those on the ocean. One scene is a triumph: Fiona's newfound friends moving about on a pier as a unified group, each with an umbrella raised, waving goodbye to Fiona.     

Technically, L'Iceberg has a consistent look and feel in this trio of directors' debut film. The art direction is exquisite""bright colors captured to perfection in carefully composed framing. In addition, the acting meshes well with rather goofy looking actors as the central characters, all fully in nonverbal control of their rubbery bodies. It is noteworthy that this Belgian trio presents a film dramatically different in content and style from the breathless pace and action of our summer fare. In French with English subtitles. At Webster University's Winifred Moore auditorium at 8 p.m. from Friday, July 6th through Sunday, July 8th [2007].  For more information, call the Webster University Film Series at 314-968-7487 or go to the web site.

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