Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven review

:. Director: Daniel Burman
:. Starring: Ingrid Rubio, Alfredo Casero
:. Running Time: 1:32
:. Year: 2003
:. Country: Argentina

Stewardesses have always exerted a certain fascination, close to fantasy, a premise on which Argentine director Daniel Burman has built his second film, trying to demystify a myth through a metaphorical romantic comedy.

Teresa (Ingrid Rubio) is a young stewardess, a free spirited woman unhappy in love who meets Julian (Alfredo Casero), a widowed and suicidal doctor, during a stop over. After spending the night together, they part ways until fate pushes them back together.

An austral fable set at the end of the world, Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven bathes in a strange ambiance of desolation and beauty. The film embraces Ushuaïa, its snow-covered peaks and frozen banks, but also its inhabitants, quasi-ghostly and distraught human beings. The director multiplies allegories, making the stewardess an angel whose wings would be those of a plane while the hospital shown to us like a corridor towards another life. The images pass slowly, posed and quiet, supported by an atmospheric soundtrack, making Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven a visually bewitching work.

While there's no doubt about the filmmaker's cinematic talent, his film gets stuck in this snow he's so found of, weighed down by pretentious imagery and inconsistent narrative.

Every Stewardess Goes To Heaven is one of these films where characters go "meditate" in altitude, on top of mountains, or at sea, reflecting themselves in the profundity and immensity of the ocean. The rhythm is languorous trying to wrap the audience in the beauty and "depth" of the moment, a seductive and manufactured process which here results in a collection of postcards—or clichés; to this emphatic exploitation of the setting, the more discrete and subtle approach of Christopher Nolan's Insomnia is preferable. The story of the two protagonists also coincides with the—symbolic—construction of a plane, while the austral isolation echoes the more arid desert of Arizona and obviously Emir Kusturica's film, Arizona Dream, from which Burman drew part of his inspiration. More troubling, his poetic vision of a stewardess is called into question by a striptease scene in a night club that puts the film back into the context of fantasy and makes us question his motivations.

Once the first half has passed, the picture vainly tries to make us believe in this improbable cat and mouse game where the two lovers remotely follow each other in the city only to approach each other on the snow-covered sides of a mountain, for a better effect of mise-en-scene. Though Ingrid Rubio and her character have the necessary charm to lead us to the end of the world, with Julian it's not the case, a pathetic, tedious and un-dimensional character stripped of the charisma that would enable him to seduce Teresa in real-life. In one scene, Julian explains that to allure women, he tells them about his difficult and sad life, trying to make them feel sorry for him, and that's exactly what Burman does, hoping to move us with a story of unhappy lovers.

  Fred Thom

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