Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 90 minutes
Stranger Says: The unnamed protagonist in Italian tragicomedy Ears is having a rather trying and bizarre day. It starts when he wakes up with tinnitus, and continues to get progressively weirder with each social interaction he’s drawn into, whether it be with well-meaning nuns and the neighbor they trigger to violent fury with their inane chatter, or a doctor who gives him a most absurd diagnosis when he tries to have that ringing in his ears checked out. But as the day edges closer to a funeral for a friend that he doesn’t remember in the slightest, he reaches some surprising (and rather poignant) realizations about himself. (LEILANI POLK)
SIFF Says:In this absurdist comedy, a man (Daniele Parisi) wakes up in his girlfriend’s apartment with a persistent ringing in his ears, and discovers a note on the fridge telling him that his friend Luigi has died; funeral at 7 p.m. Disoriented and concerned, for our unnamed protagonist doesn’t know anyone named Luigi, he stumbles out of the apartment to try to sort things out. He meets several doctors, one of whom briefly convinces him he is with child as a joke, but none of them can find anything wrong with his ears. The man bumps into his friend and his mistress, who not only call into question our hero’s own romantic issues but insist they use his apartment as a love-den for just an hour or two. After a failed attempt at delivering a bouquet of flowers to his girlfriend at work and bumping into his selfie-obsessed mother and her new young boyfriend, Parisi’s character accepts his fate, and arrives at the mysterious Luigi’s funeral. Filmed in black and white with a slowly increasing aspect ratio from 1:1 to the modern 1:85:1―perhaps to emphasize the man’s expanding connections―this Kafkaesque tale plunges the viewer into the folly of the world.
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