Home' Nova National : October 2009 Contents Cera persists and finally Yi agrees to "eat and
see a movie" or as the director says, "go on
a date". The relationship is uncomfortable
at the start, and continues that way, not
because the two don't get on, but because
the audience begins to feel the camera is
actually going to destroy the relationship
because it is so intrusive. The director, who
purports to be Yi's friend, is unwilling to
back off from filming, even after it becomes
obvious that Cera and Yi are sick of it.
So the interviews with the average
American run parallel to the "romance"
between Yi and Cera and in between are
some amazing paper puppets created by Yi
and her father to animate the stories from
Even though you know that Jasenovec
and Yi have actually fabricated the romance
between Cera and Yi, it is easy to be sucked
into the fiction. Cera brings his clumsy
charm, so adored in his previous outings,
and tones it down just enough to keep you
believing that this is a real romance, and Yi
is talented enough for you to buy into the
whole thing. Obviously, Jasenovec didn't
think he would be believable on film, so actor
Jake Johnson plays him in the film. Johnson
brings just the right amount of pushy and
perverse to the on-camera directorial role,
while Jasenovec proves himself a dab hand
at directing a fresh piece of cinema.
the reality of seeing his ex-wife Lily
every day and finally getting up the
courage to tell her why he left her when
she was 21 and had just given birth to
Looking for Eric is a bit flabby in
the middle, with too many scenes that
simply reiterate points that have already
been presented. With a more dynamic
ensemble, director Ken Loach might
have got away with it, but here it's just
a bit dull. That said, Eric's workmates at
the Post Office are great and don't get
enough screen time, whereas Cantona
and the footage of his footballing
prowess wears a bit thin for those of
us who go to the movies to avoid ball
There is a point in the film where you
think it is going to wander down that
much loved Loach road of dark, dismal
despair where everything goes horribly
wrong. But with the help of some
Cantona masks and water pistols, it turns
out all right in the end.
The Eric referred to
in the title of this film
is Eric Cantona, and
for those non-football
(and by that I mean
soccer) filmgoers, he
is a famous French
soccer player who also
played for Manchester
Eric is also Eric
Bishop (Steve Evets),
a single father of two
teenage boys, and an older girl Sam from
his first marriage who is finishing up
her PhD while juggling a young baby.
Eric and his former wife Lily
(Stephanie Bishop) agree to babysit so
that Sam can study longer hours and
finish her study. It has been years since
their divorce and they have avoided
meeting in all that time (over 20 years),
so these meetings have a great deal of
significance for them both.
It is clear that Eric is at crisis point,
his kids from his second marriage are
out of control -- dealing in stolen goods,
missing school and getting in with some
dangerous types. But Eric doesn't seem
to be able to pull himself together, let
alone get the kids into line.
So he nicks some of his son's pot and
sits in his room and talks to Eric Cantona,
his hero. Cantona is full of philosophies
presented in a French accent so they
sound that much more profound -- he is
Eric's fantasy to get him back on the right
track. Alongside the fantasy, however, is
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FILMS BY MARY O'DONOVAN ★★★★★ so good ★★★★ really good ★★★ pretty good ★★ not so good ★ no good
© NOVA OCTOBER 2009
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This moving documentary tells the true story of Rowan Isaacson, an autistic boy whose
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In Seven Steps To Freedom, Gilbert Mane, headmaster of Sydney's John Colet School,
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The two films reviewed this month have
something in common. Both of them have
an element of reality about them, but both
of them are constructs. Paper Heart may
appear more like a documentary than
Looking For Eric, but both are fictional
films. Having said that, as everyone is aware,
documentaries are as much constructs of a
point of view as any fiction and the more
adamantly a documentary maker asserts the
truth of the "facts" as presented, the more
suspicious an audience should be of the
Paper Heart is an engaging piece from
US comedienne Charlyne Yi following her
journey across the US telling people she
doesn't believe in love and everyone trying
their darndest to convince her otherwise,
or at least convince her that she is lovable.
Everyone from Elvis' ministers in Las Vegas
to bikers in a bar give her their versions of
love, but Yi remains stonily unconvinced
that love as described will ever be hers.
While she and director and friend
Nick Jasenovec are scouting for ideas,
Charlyne meets Michael Cera (of Arrested
Development and Juno fame) at a party. The
meeting is not auspicious. In fact, she looks
like she can't wait to get away from him. But
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