by Ben Sachs
Viola, which moves between rehearsals for a low-budget production of Twelfth Night and scenes from the lives of some actresses therein, recalls Rivette's Out 1 and The Gang of Four, hinting at parallels between the drama and the drama-within-the-drama but never confirming what they are. Hoberman, who called the movie Piñeiro's most accomplished to date, described it thusly:
Viola consists almost entirely of two-shot close-ups, filmed with a mobile camera but edited without establishing or transitional shots, effectively blending rehearsals, riffs, performances, dressing room discussions of various relationships, and off-stage encounters. . . . Further ambiguity is provided by the introduction of a character, not in the play, who is invited to replace one of the actresses in Twelfth Night, and who contributes to the pervasive theme of copying and doubling by acting as a courier for her boyfriend in the business of duping and distributing bootleg DVDs—at least that's what it seems like to me.
Sunday's screening will be preceded by a film adaptation of Twelfth Night from 1910, which condenses Shakespeare's five-act comedy into a brisk 12 minutes. It's a smart programming decision, as the short provides a useful refresher on the play's structure and themes and gives viewers a clearer idea of what Piñeiro's toying with in Viola.