Projections - Movie Reviews

The Five Senses The Five Senses

The Five Senses is a Short Cuts take on the human condition from the aspect of the characters' senses.  There isn't the strong cynicism of Robert Altman, but the interconnecting stories from Jeremy Podeswa have a deft touch when looking at his Toronto denizens who begin to experience isolation and loss.

The tender schematically delineated vignettes on view can be overwrought, yet bittersweet, but the emotions of the characters make themselves felt as lives of loneliness and quiet desperation attempting to be remedied through their senses.  A sensual undertone permeates the proceedings as couples find pleasure from their relationships as light comedy is mixed with pathos and Podeswa makes autumn a shadowy texture.

The most recognizable character for US audiences in Mary Louise Parker's Rona, an untalented cake baker, who has fallen for an appealing Italian hunk, chef (Marco Leonardi).  She also produces some amusing, tart moments with a bisexual buddy, Robert (Daniel MacIvor).  He's a maid for a couple whose house perplexes him.  Yet, the lady perfume maker of the house gets the sent of love going for Robert when he smells a new perfume.

Parker's sensitive Rona is surprised when her new lover Roberto, makes delicious meals as he moves in with her, but she suspects that he may want a passport or funds.  Besides the forces of romance, a more metaphorical wistful ophthalmologist Richard (Phillippe Volter) who is beginning to go deaf learns to hear rain falling again, with the aid of a hooker (Pascale Bussieres) who has a deaf son.

What ties this visually and emotionally expressive film together is a child who is lost by Rachel (Nadia Litz) then is lured by Rupert (Brendan Fletcher) to follow an intimate couple in the woods.  Rachel's mom Ruth is good with her clients as a masseur but doesn't have the same relationship with her daughter.  Finding the lost daughter of Molly Parker's Anna who's being worked on by Ruth is a focal point of Podeswa.  In a maze like fashion the dress up game between Rachel and Rupert allows them to get in touch with themselves and the interlocking stories scroll back to their situation.  Parker even provides touching moments as Anna deals with her pain differently than what is expected.

A non linear tale that encroaches on the terrain of Atom Egoyan, The Five Senses is more than heavy handed allusions about how lives can cross paths.  Maybe Podeswa's stories from Toronto thrive on a thematic convenience, but they are less contrived and more involving as the senses help players better understand themselves.

The Five Senses

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