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Duck Season (Unrated)

Release Date: March 10th, 2006 (Angelika Film Center) by Warner Independent Pictures.
The Cast: Enrique Arreola, Diego Cataño, Daniel Miranda, Danny Perea, Carolina Politi Directed by Fernando Eimbcke.
In Spanish with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: 14 year-old best friends Flama (Miranda) and Miko (Cataño) bond with a pizza deliveryman (Arreola) and Rita (Perea), the girl next door, when Flama’s mother (Politi) leaves them alone for the day.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: What begins as a typical Sunday for Flama and Miko ends up quite the contrary when Flama’s mother leaves them alone to play video games. The electricity goes out, so they have very little else to do in the small apartment complex. Boredom seems to be the only real threat to the boys, even when Ulises, a middle-aged pizza deliveryman, shows up 11 seconds late and refuses to leave until he gets paid. Luckily, Ulises doesn’t seem remotely creepy or intimidating, although his youthful, laidback spirit does comes feel a bit bizarre at times. Soon 16 year-old Rita shows up simply to bake a cake. Meanwhile, she flirts with the two young boys. What Duck Season lacks in plot and character development, it makes up for in Fernando Eimbcke’s witty script and in his stylish directing. None of the characters have much of a background other than that Ulises who dislikes his job and loves ducks. However, Flama and Miko’s offbeat energy makes them oddly appealing. Rita is the only character that doesn’t serve much of a purpose, even though she briefly kisses one of the young boys in a very sweet scene. The way the characters interact with one another is often funny in an absurd way. Eimbcke’s decision to shoot the entire film in black-and-white helps create a stylish charm, not-to-mention an indisputable homage to Jim Jarmusch’s style of directing in Stranger Than Paradise , Dead Man and Coffee and Cigarettes, namely. The simplicity and pureness of black-and-white also reflects the simplicity of the plot. In the third act, there are too many brief scenes with fade-to-blacks, so it’s difficult to tell when the ending precisely comes. By the time the end credits roll, you won’t really care about any of the characters, but at least you’ll remember some of the well-shot, sweet, and quirky scenes where they interacted with one another.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Duck Season has moments of insight when Ulises fixates on a painting with ducks. He describes ducks’ unique V-shape migratory pattern which shows their concern for one another—when the leading bird gets tired, another one replaces it and when it gets too tired, another bird escorts it to rest. Just like in this interesting analogy, the four characters in Duck Season all seem to be on the same level without anyone acting superior—even Ulises, the adult, acts their age.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Very thin plot with no suspense.


IN A NUTSHELL: Simple, sweet and funny! Thoroughly refreshing!

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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