DELICATE CRIME (Beto Brant). 87 minutes. Subtitled. Saturday (June 28), 6 pm. National Film Board of Canada. Rating: NNN
Director Beto Brant panders to high-brow tastes with his middle-class drama Delicate Crime, an intriguing if uneven study of how passion interferes with art and art with life.
Antonio (Marco Ricca) is a cold and isolated theatre critic who can quote Walter Benjamin before he slams a play. He finally finds the woman who makes his pulse quicken in Inés (Lilian Taublib), a sultry one-legged nude model who – unfortunately for the critic – is already being kept by an artist. As the smitten Antonio begins to unravel, Brant’s lead-footed film finally seems to be going places.
Though the film never really comes together in any satisfying way, it’s full of delicate, contained moments that do nothing for the storyline but are quietly forceful. Brant has an ear for dialogue, allowing the audience to eavesdrop on simple conversations between strangers – about life, sex, and jealousy – that are entirely disconnected but wholly absorbing.
And then there’s the long, shocking and nearly wordless nude painting sequence, which is fascinating enough to stand as a short film on its own.