In the City of Sylvia review

Hopeless romantic or menacing psychotic? We are probably expected to lean the way of the former, but the anorexic effeminate lead who spends the film following a young woman through the serene streets of Strasbourg is definitely a bit of both.

Aside from the Martini ad cast and picturesque locations, or, perhaps, as well as them, the most striking aspect of the film is the near-absence of dialogue. Birds chirp, feet clomp, and a pencil annoyingly scribbles out-of-synch, but vocal interaction is rare and, in fact, there is only really one particularly meaningful piece of dialogue in the whole film. It is this moment that is the most powerful, quite wonderfully so, highlighting how far entrenched expectations, not to mention senses in general, can be manipulated by an art form for artistic and emotional effect.

In The City of Sylvia feels more like a piece of experimental art than a narrative film (although it does have a firm narrative), and I suspect many would not enjoy it because of that, but it paints a picture with a very original and interesting style.

4 out of 5

26th Mar 2009