A response of sorts to Phantom’s vision of desire and sexuality as purely physical expressions, Two Drifters offers an eccentric, ethereal and almost Romantic love story. The film derives its Portuguese title from the name of a lonely young woman stung by her boyfriend’s cruel departure and obsessed with her dead gay neighbor and his grieving lover Rui. Superimposing both aching losses, the deeply sensitive woman inserts herself ever more insistently into the Rui’s uncertain life. Rodrigues depicts the couple’s grief as an otherworldly love triangle as the woman increasingly comes to seem genuinely haunted, perhaps even possessed. Rodrigues’ mysterious film generates an almost palpable sense of the gaping absence and limboed desire left by the sudden departure of a loved one.
China, ChinaDirected by João Pedro Rodrigues.
With Chen Jie, Chen Jia Liang, Luís Rafael Chen.
Portugal, 2007, 35mm, color, 19 min.
Mandarin and Portuguese with English subtitles.
This slice of life picture of a young Chinese mother living in Lisbon and trapped in a loveless marriage marks a sharp departure from Rodrigues’ other work by weaving together trenchant observations on globalism, the culture of gun violence and the pleasures and horrors of the nuclear family. Equally anomalous in Rodrigues’ oeuvre as the film’s geo-political ambitions is its unusual approach to editing, a complex fragmenting of time and space achieved through jump cuts and rapid montages to fragment time and space.