Having recently seen “This Is Martin Bonner”, an absolutely stunning, Sundance Award Winner, by Max Mayer, I’m more convinced than ever of the futility of our obsession with superisizing, both in films and foods. This was a brief, beautiful film and, as it ended I heard -for the first time I can recall – people commenting “I wish it wasn’t over.”
As Americans we’ve become used to the two hour plus blockbuster wannabees, which cause us to check our watches an hour and a half in and ponder our to-do lists, such as e-mails we need to return or items we have to pick up at the food-store on the way home. Woody Allen once said that no movie needs to last longer than an hour and a half, and while that’s a rule he usually breaks, the point remains that a film lasting longer should do so with some justification. Too often I leave movies that were two hours plus and I’d rate as okay, but which would have been much more enjoyable if only they’d been more assiduously edited.
“This Is Martin Bonner,” which runs for 83 minutes, is a gem of a film. It’s about life, new beginnings, old wounds, healing, hurt and acceptance. Like certain of its characters, it says more by saying less. It’s a movie to be savored, and then it stops.
The beauty of special indies, such as Martin Bonner, as of many foreign films, lies in the fact that they’ve something to say, they say it, and they end. We aren’t talking Double Whopper here. We’re speaking of a small plate of fine French fare.
There’s a phrase in french, “J’ai bien mangé.” which can be said to a host or a server at the end of a meal. It’s both a compliment and a way of stating that the plate can be removed. Translated into English the meaning is “I’ve eaten well” – as in – “The food’s been good; I’ve enjoyed it; and I’ve had just enough.” In fact, in the States, there’s no exact translation, because the concept is one that many of us can’t conceive – exactly the right amount of food to bring enjoyment and satisfaction, yet not a morsel more. As a film, “This Is Martin Bonner” finds exactly that formula.
All my best,
Arlene B. Englander, LCSW,MBA,PA
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