I admit to being someone who likes unusual, nonmainstream films. I look for them on purpose. But there is a fine line between unusual and ridiculous. Absurdistan falls into the latter category.
I really wanted to like this film. Taking after the Greek play Lysistrata (wherein the women of Athens refuse to have sex with their husbands until the men stop going to war), this film has women refusing to have sex with lazy, good-for-nothing men until they fix the pipes that bring the water into their village.
Absurdistan is a good name for this film. It contains several scenes of magical realism and fortune telling, not to mention the fact that there are plot holes you could drive a car through. No one mentions that they are all going to die of thirst because there is literally no water. Nor does it seem odd to anyone that at the end of the film the village is suddenly next to a wide and flowing river.
In one part of the film, one of the men infiltrates the women’s house in drag, although it’s never clear why he does this. But whatever his plan, he instead “becomes one of them.” To the filmmakers, this means constantly grabbing the breasts of the other women who are supposed to be friends with the woman he is impersonating. I don’t know why some men think that’s what female friends do. For anyone who is confused on this point, let me make it clear right now: As a rule, women don’t feel each other up unless it’s a romantic relationship.
When the male hero, Temelko, returns from school in the city, he proceeds to steal the remaining water for a ritual bath for himself and his girlfriend prior to their fist sexual encounter. Aya, the female lead, starts the sex boycott right there, but never mentions what a selfish jerk Temelko is for stealing the town’s water. There are so many issues not raised in this film that it simply doesn’t work either on a comedic or dramatic level.
There is no mention of the repulsiveness of the shepherd trying to have sex with a lamb before his wife warns him off. This is considered funny. Kidnapping and scaring women are funny too. And strangely, in a village where the men are renowned for their sexual prowess, there is only one baby and no children.
The newsletter put out by the Hollywood Theatre makes two major mistakes in the description of this film. First it claims that Temelko is the men’s only hope at getting water back to the village. This is not in any way true. The men try to stop him from doing it. The newsletter also says that lack of water is keeping Temelko and Aya from getting married. Never at any time is there mention of, or plans for, a wedding. Only sex.
There are no words for how much I hate this film. I am certain that there is a certain percentage of both the male and female film-going public who will find the obsession with sex and the intense laziness of these men entertaining. I find it sad.
The plot is contrived and incomplete. Some of the camera work is reminiscent of reality television. The use of magical realism is over the top. The cruelty to a couple of the village donkeys is stomach turning. The women are shown as bitchy and stupid. And the acting ranges from just plain bad to creepy.
Skip this film and rent a DVD instead.