"}
Film

While We Were Here

The honeymoon’s over

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Between the architectural pillars of Renaissance Italy and Kate Bosworth, director Kat Coiro hangs a gossamer tale of ruined love and liberation with While We Were Here. An homage to neorealism, the French New Wave and the cinematic power of faces, as well as a lark of sorts for Coiro and Bosworth after their collaboration on Life Happens, this black-and-white, anti-romantic feature might also be seen as a retort to that earlier film.

An antipasto platter of film references, While We Were Here bends the conventions of its various inspirations, which include De Sica, Rossellini, Roman Holiday, and (although the central location is Naples) Godard, because Bosworth so strongly evokes Jean Seberg in Breathless. Bosworth’s Jane—a troublingly thin, visibly depressed American tourist—has arrived in Italy with her husband, Leonard (Iddo Goldberg), a classical viola player in town for concert rehearsals. There are no overt hostilities between the two, but there’s no evident love, either.

Jane is a writer who has long struggled with a project she can’t quite wrap her head around: Through her ever-present headphones, she listens to hours of interviews she conducted with her English grandmother, whose recollections of having lived through two world wars, Jane hopes, will provide the inspiration for a book. As Jane’s grandma, Claire Bloom delivers a vocal performance so deft that her character seems to take palpable form, her words arriving at perfect intervals throughout the film.

The film is initially shot with what seems to be an unnecessarily wide lens, and a jagged palette of shadows and light that are meant to reflect Jane’s psychological conflict. It comes to light that she’s had a miscarriage, an essential part of this portrait that nonetheless feels like a too-easy device. And as American movie women tend to do when visiting Italy, Jane experiences a sensual awakening.

Contrary to expectations, said arousal is provided not by an Italian but by a footloose 19-year-old American, Caleb (Jamie Blackley), who is a bit taken with himself but amuses the 30ish Jane, especially when he tells her viola jokes. The flaw here is that any wife of a professional viola player would have heard them all before.

While Caleb never becomes a figure of crucial significance, he does throw Jane’s marital problems into high relief. Leonard exhibits all the signs of being out of love: He doesn’t really listen, and he responds wearily when Jane attempts conversational intimacy. During sex, when Jane asks him, “Is there anything you want?” he responds, “Just you, Jane.” What Jane herself wants isn’t sex, or even love, but spontaneity, which Caleb provides.

Coiro’s script provides all manner of understated clues as to Jane’s problems and resolutions, while lenser Chamberlain delivers a portrait in light that is not exactly understated—Bosworth blossoms gloriously as Jane finds her erotic footing—but is precise and moving, much like the film itself. While We Were Here does have a hint of Chanel advertising about it, and one sequence of Jane and Caleb romping about the island of Ischia seems almost a parody of love-in-bloom moments, but the emotions feel otherwise genuine.

Ticket Cascadia
More Film...
Southside With You
Barack gets the girl

A 20-something woman living at home prepares for a day out. Her parents tease her as she fixes her hair. Is it a date? No, just a work associate, a Harvard law student with the firm for the summer, taking her to a community meeting to discuss “broken faucets and underfunded schools.”…

more »
Hell or High Water
Making them like they used to

Oh, they do not make heartland crime dramas like they did back in the ’70s—smart, ornery, low of budget and high of attitude. Steeped in seedy characters and lousy luck. Above all lacking in the least amount of body fat, moral or cinematic.

Two-Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point, Badlands.

more »
Florence Foster Jenkins
The flat lady sings

Perhaps she was a tragic figure, or a clinical case worthy of Oliver Sacks, or the incarnation of a dishonest middlebrow culture. But in the end, Stephen Frears’s enjoyable, sentimental movie turns this bizarre real-life figure into a version of Eddie the Eagle, swooping and crashing…

more »
Events
Today
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

5Point Adventure Film Festival

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Bow Little Market

1:00pm|Belfast Feed Store

Garden Dedication

3:00pm|Mount Vernon City Library

Blues, Brews & BBQ

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Vintner Dinner

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Riverwalk Summer Concert Series

6:00pm|Riverwalk Park

Move to Amend

6:00pm|Mount Vernon

Fiction Writing Group

6:00pm|Village Books,

Elizabeth Park Concert Series

6:00pm|Elizabeth Park

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Swinomish 2016 Northwood Steak and Crab
Tomorrow
Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

5Point Adventure Film Festival

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

What's Next?

9:00am|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Wild Things

9:30am|Lake Padden

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Barbecues and Beach Parties

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Ferndale Street Festival

6:00pm|Downtown Ferndale

Summer Concert Series Finale

6:00pm|Seafarers Park

Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Final Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Historic Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham

Final Dancing on the Green

7:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Wine and Music

7:00pm|Artifacts Cafe and Wine Bar

A Little Night Music

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Doubles

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Artifacts Wine Bar Swinomish 2016
Saturday
5Point Adventure Film Festival

10:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Barbecues and Beach Parties

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Ferndale Street Festival

6:00pm|Downtown Ferndale

Final Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Historic Fairhaven and downtown Bellingham

A Little Night Music

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center

Doubles

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner

Sedro Car Show

9:00am|United General Fitness Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Island Market

10:00am|Islander Grocery

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|Peace Portal Drive

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Wondermud

10:00am|Bellingham BMX

Discover Birch Bay Days

10:00am|Birch Bay Drive

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Improv for Kids

10:30am|Improv Playworks

Fidalgo Bay Day

11:00am|Fidalgo Bay Resort

A Swinging Weekend

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Holly Street History Tour

1:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

This Old House

2:00pm|Point Roberts Community Center

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Drinking for Dogs

4:00pm|Green Frog Acoustic Tavern

Downtown Throwdown

4:00pm|Public Market

Scary Monster & the Super Creeps

5:00pm|Heart of Anacortes

Toys for Tots Benefit Concert

5:00pm|Eagle Haven Winery

Moonlight in Margaritaville

5:30pm|Maple Hall

An Evening with Ann Morris

7:30pm| Lummi Island Library

Circus on the Water

8:00pm|Lookout Arts Quarry and Boundary Bay Brewery

see our complete calendar »

Northwood Steak and Crab Artifacts Wine Bar Bellingham Farmer’s Market Andrew Subin 5 Point Film Festival Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Swinomish 2016 Village Books