One thing that has always bothered me about a vast majority of standard Hollywood cinema is the fact that the viewer is given little to no opportunity to actually think about what they are seeing. So often every little detail is over explained with scenes of ill-placed dialogue that serve no other purpose than to tell the viewer what they should or shouldn't be feeling at any given moment. Sometimes there are the little visual cues that point out each and every minuscule detail about what is happening on screen, even though you could very well figure it out on your own within the confines of the scene and how it plays out for the characters.
On the flip side, exposition can sometimes be necessary in certain situations, and I have no problem when it is done in a way that supports the story instead of bogging it down with useless details. It all comes down to how the film is presented and if we the audience are treated like we have a smidgen of smarts left in that oversaturated dome that sits on our shoulders.
This plays right into my thoughts on the semi-short film, See the Sea, from French writer/director, Francois Ozon. See the Sea (non-freedom translation: Regarde la mer) is not exactly the type of film that's easy to review, simply because to get into too much detail can really spoil the impact of the film. However, I still feel the need to share it because I found it to be an interesting watch and one that can easily be accessed on the good ol' Netflix instant watch.
See the Sea follows a young mother named Sasha (Sasha Hails) who, along with her baby daughter, is waiting for her husband to return home from a long business trip. Meanwhile, Sasha takes in an oddball drifter name Tatiana (Marina de Van). There's honestly not too much more to say about the plot without unnecessarily touching on specific moments and giving away too much about the film itself, but it should be noted the difference in which the two women are presented.
Tatiana is a street savvy loner who is a bit rough around the edges and can best be described as (or at least appearing to be) damaged goods. On the other hand, Sasha is a bit naïve, overly trusting and seemingly happy. She's carelessly (and curiously) open to any sort of company for the simple fact that she wants to curb her boredom (and possibly a slight sexual appetite). What it boils down to is, one seems to have it all, while the other seems to have nothing, but there is something that each of the two characters can gain from one another.
Now, the distracting part about a film like See the Sea is the fact that it's a thriller of sorts. A thriller is what it's sold as, it's what the blurb alludes to on the home video release and, quite frankly, it's why I watched the movie in the first place. That and it's 52 minutes long. So when you go into the movie itself, there is a preconceived notion of what to expect, but that is not at all what is served up to the viewer.
While there are some incredibly odd and eyebrow raising occurrences in this film, as well as already being aware that there was something that would "thrill me," See the Sea doesn't come at the audience with its thriller dick in its hand spewing out the usual troupes found within the genre. Everything is sold to the viewer with the subtly of a growing fingernail. There is little to no music or falsely generated tension, and things are allowed to unfold naturally, with moments tossed in that make you wonder where exactly this one is going to end up.
There were no moments where I felt as if I was being told how I should be feeling; I was being allowed to feel it for myself. Thankfully, a lot of what I felt was driven by curiosity and a desire to know where exactly the movie was taking me. See the Sea is not exactly an exciting film, but that's sort of the point. It's realistic in how things progress for the characters, and that reflects greatly in how things progress for the viewer, too. There is no actual foreshadowing in real life outside of possible little clues to who people really are, and that is how See the Sea handles its character's and their individual progressions.
There's a lot to be said about the two female leads and their respective intricacies in this film, and that's very difficult to discuss in great length as to get too far into either of their psyches could possibly give you an idea of where the film will go, and I would much rather you find that out for yourself. Then we can talk. Either way, See the Sea is a high recommend because it is interesting, it's well put together, it will leave an impact on you, it's artistic, but not at all pretentious, and the ending will make you want to backtrack in your mind with the intention of processing everything that happened before the anti-climax.