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The Party [2017]: ‘IFFI’ Review

Bourgeois intellect meets hurtful revelations in Sally Potter’s wicked, rib-tickling and witty British comedy “The Party.” Boasting an A-list cast of wonderful actors and a runtime of a shade over 70 minutes, this dinner bash turns into a bonkers series of blame game even before the cat is completely out of the bag.




Shot in black and white, The Party happens inside Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) & Bill’s (Timothy Spall) home. With the smell of food and a drooling sense of cacophony breaming under all the initial quietness, Janet receives phone calls after phone calls as Bill sits in the living room almost drinking himself to death. While he occasionally sits up to change the record on the turntable, Janet’s getting ready for her guests who are supposed to be as elitists as the newly elected Health minister in her & the classist academia in her husband Bill.

The first ones to arrive are April (Patricia Clarkson) & Gottfried (Bruno Ganz). A mismatched couple obviously controlled by the sharp, direct & acutely cunning April. Gottfried, on the other hand, is this calm, composed, wannabe hippie who believes that a lot of the present world is a complete farce. The other character to grace the house with his sweaty, nervous and coke-sniffing presence is the smoothly dressed banker Tom (Cillian Murphy). The sordid, mysterious air that surrounds his nervous energy seems to boil up even more as he constantly takes trips to the bathroom to powder his nose (quite, literally).

Jinny (Emily Mortimer) & Martha (Cherry Jones) are the quietly brooding lesbian couple who are expecting a triplet very soon. Jinny is in for the notion that Martha isn’t quite up to it and hence their slow bickering gets intertwined with the sad revelation that Bill is about to drop on everyone. Tom’s sweating is also rolling in a big fat surprise that he isn’t quite ready to unload, neither through his mouth nor through the gun in his suit. Janet who is the center of the soirée is constantly aroused by his feminist old friend April, who is punching in possibly the best lines in the film. While hiding a possible love affair from all of them as she answers calls that are meant to be congratulatory.




It’s all Feminism Vs Sexism Vs Spiritualism Vs Relationships Vs The Unknown in this widely amusing and wickedly funny chamber piece by Sally Potter. She chooses to point a gun at the viewers in the very first image of her film, deluding the audience of a possible bloodshed. All we get is an insane amount of insults & revelations that never feel forced into this little film which gets claustrophobic with every passing second. While it does feel a little theatrical, Aleksei Rodionov gorgeous lensing give it the much needed cinematic feel. Also, the satire on modern day relationships digs right into the plates of all the people and almost everyone is guilty as charged. While everyone shines in “The Party”,  Patricia Clarkson snatches the desert with her sharp, authentic and bitchy take on the woman who owns it.

★½

“THE PARTY” WAS SCREENED AT THE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF INDIA, 2017.
CLICK HERE FOR OUR COMPLETE IFFI COVERAGE.

Director-screenwriter: Sally Potter.
Cast: Patricia Clarkson, June Cherry, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy, Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall.
Cinematographer: Alexey Rodionov.
Editors: Anders Refn, Emilie Orsini.
Producers: Christopher Sheppard, Kurban Kassam.
Production companies: Great Point Media, Adventure Pictures.
Sales: ICM Partners (North Amertica), Great Point Media (world).

 

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