Zona

A small band of dissidents, led by a saxophonist named Doc Dorance, flee an authoritarian government that has banned all music, and carrying a mysterious casket, they slowly find their way to an island of caverns called “the Zone.” First-time director Pierre Desir, intent on creating a tone of elegiac doom, not only casts narrative logic to the winds but also sets a lethargic pace, dwelling on bucolic settings and studied poetical images. The actors pose like forlorn figures in the landscape and recite their few lines—including quotes from Leonardo da Vinci, Fidel Castro, John F. Kennedy, and Thelonious Monk—as if they were sleepwalking. Some scenes, in which radicalized characters engage in a sort of guerrilla theater, recall Les carabiniers or Weekendmdwith all of Godard's pretentiousness and none of his intensity or intellectual sleight of hand. At its worst Zona seems like a film-school project, mistaking obscurity for art. 94 min.

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