The Blue Hour Reviews
September 7, 2012
Review/Synopsis; The Blue [Empty?] Hour May contain spoilers. Happy is a teenage graffiti muralist with a passion for spray paint. Her canvas is the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River. While painting a mural of Payasa, a sad-faced comic-book-style figure, she encounters Sal, a demented homeless man who perhaps makes attempts to communicate with her. Sal, once an astronomy professor at Cal Tech., has been missing for years? His habitat, in the vegetation along the river is discovered by Happy and she visits it after his death, noticing some photographs and an instrument with some astronomical purpose fashioned from a soda can. Sal and another character, Humphrey, very indirectly cross paths with Avo, a vintage camera repairman living with his wife Allegra on the East Bank of the river. Their apartment overlooks the mural. In the area, their 4-year old daughter Hedi drowned. As Happy works on the Payasa, Avo attempts to reconcile his wife to the tragedy. A few blocks away from the apartment, Ridley is a street-musician guitarist staying in the area. Happy passes by him at one points and puts a few coins in his guitar case. He has returned to Los Angeles to care for his dying mother, whom another sibling in the area has been unwilling to visit? Ridley happens across Sal as he is dying from a hit-and-run accident. Humphrey is an pensioner living in an apartment overlooking the river. He wakes up one morning to the sound of Sal raving somewhere about. Having recently lost his wife, Humphrey spends hours eating lunch by her grave, a few yards from that of Heidi, where he sees Allegra. Humphrey crosses paths with Happy very incidentally at a bakery in the riverside neighborhood. In the final scene Happy has painted a mural of what looks like an Aztec calendar. Also one of a man scanning the heavens with a telescope, Happy while watching TV learns that the victim of a hit-and-run was a former astronomy professor, whose name she recognizes having seen it in the passport she found at his living site. So much for connections, Everything Is--as several Crash-copying dramatizations have it--but not so much in this film by an Armenian-born director, Eric Nazarian. The film is limited in dialogue, even monologue, to an extreme, and thematic connections are deliberately tenuous, amounting to attachments to photographs, remembrances, emblems, and simple memorial gestures by all the characters suffering loses: Our lives are rivers that flow into the sea which is death: translation of Spanish of Jorge Marrique 15th century .These are loss of a father--though not literally a death--a child, a mother, a wife, and the death of Sal--who is a loss in general to society? Or in some sense to us all. The film begins totally enigmatically and just barely becomes less so at its conclusion. It is every-day realism that borders on the magical in rituals, in memories and illusions, in efforts of characters to express their feelings in creative ways. That is all. The making of any meaning is left to the intelligence and empathy of the viewer. Others need not apply. You will not be entertained nor informed, nor satisfied. You will not be disappointed.