I was chatting with LA Weekly film critic Karina Longworth shortly after she saw Bonsai, the new film by Christian Jimemez. As she explained in a recent FilmLinc.com podcast, seeing the movie here in Cannes was an experience that deeply affected her. Based on the visceral reaction she described, I made a point of seeing the film at its next screening.
A low budget Chilean indie, Bonsai is an exciting discovery in the Un Certain Regard section here at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The second film by Jimenez, based on a novel by Alejandro Zambra, follows two 20-somethings who fall for each other. More specifically it's a look at what binds them: literature and loneliness.
Books and a little bonsai tree play important roles in the film.
"These are people who are in their early twenties and they are studying literature," Jimenez explained in a FilmLinc.com audio podcast this week in Cannes. "They are lacking a framework that gives them reference, they find shelter in books."
Jimenez explained that the loneliness he's exploring in Bonsai is not only someting he can relate to personally, but is unique to a generation of Chileans.
"It has to do with a certain kind of lonliness that was (specific) to our generation," Jimenez said during our conversation at the Chilean stand inside the Cannes Marché du Film, "People of our generation in Chile experienced a certain kind of loneliness that was new, it was not just new to us but it was new to our society in a way. It was something that our parents could not help us dael with us because they did not go through it."
Continuing, he added, "I think the chacarters in the ebook when facing this new isolation (and) what they think can save them is books. Maybe it wont save them, but it allows them to keep going, for a while at least."
Eugene Hernandez is the Director of Digital Strategy at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and a founder of indieWIRE. Follow him on Twitter from Cannes (@eug) and follow the rest of FIlmLinc.com's Cannes coverage in our special section.