| WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY
USA/UK, 2006, 88 min
Directed by Goran Dgukic
Written by Goran Dgukic, Etgar Keret( short story "Kneller's Happy Campers")
Produced by Chris Coen, Tatiana Kelly, Mikal P. Lazarev , Adam Sherman
Cinematography by Vanja Cernjul
Music by Bobby Johnston
Starring Patrick Fugit, Abraham Benrubi, Shannyn Sossamon, Shea Whigham, Leslie Bibb, Will Arnett, Tom Waits
Relegated to a forlorn afterlife of unsmiling lost souls and melancholy drifters as a result of committing suicide in the mortal realm, a heartbroken young man sets out to find the girl who inspired his final act of self-destruction after learning that she too has taken her own life in director Goran Dukic's adaptation of Etgar Keret's darkly comic novella Kneller's Happy Campers. A likeable young man despite his depressive disposition, Zia (Patrick Fugit) puts blade to wrist only to find that the pain of life doesn't end with the coming of death. Now trapped in a bleak metaphysical landscape populated entirely by suicide victims blearily searching for the joys that eluded them in the physical realm, Zia soon learns that the love is one of the latest arrivals in the dreary land of the dead. As Zia sets out to locate his ill-fated former companion and experience the joys that eluded the couple in life, he is joined in his quest by a lovelorn Russian rocker named Eugene (Shea Wigham) and an accidental tourist named Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon), who's looking for a way out of the sorrowful stir.
V.A. Musetto – New York Post
“Croatian-born director-writer Goran Dukic instills "Wristcutters" with the absurdist humor you find in films from the Balkans.
The result is wholly original, sort of like "The Wizard of Oz" as filtered through the sensibilities of Emir Kusturica, the cult filmmaker and musician.”
Justin Chang – Variety
“Suicide is very much a laughing matter in "Wristcutters: A Love Story," a genially warped road-trip comedy that imagines a special purgatory for those who have willfully departed the land of the living. Though its absurdist inventions occasionally border on twee, this affectionate slow-blooming romance mines an understated vein of comic melancholy that the actors' wistful performances perfectly capture. Prime specialty fare is sure to find passionate admirers in limited release and marks an auspicious feature debut for helmer Goran Dukic.”
Lisa Schwarzbaum – Entertainment Weekly
“The afterlife for those who refer to themselves as ''offed'' is a washed-out, dusty road to a SoCal nowhere in Wristcutters: A Love Story, a singular absurdist lark. But the residents are irresistibly hip, beginning with Patrick Fugit (Almost Famous) as the title suicide, and not limited to Tom Waits as the crackpot leader of a utopian community — utopian at least by suicide standards. The whole film is cracked, but in a stylish, downtown way.”
Ty Burr – Boston Globe
“Croatian filmmaker Goran Dukic's debut feature, adapted by him from Etgar Keret's short story "Kneller's Happy Campers," turns out to be a sweetly grim lark: a road film through Limbo. It takes the self-pity associated with ending one's life and uses it for the purposes of mordantly aware comic fantasy. There are life lessons learned here, but the blackhearted gag is that everyone's already dead, so it hardly matters.”
“It's hard to hate a movie where small, useless miracles happen only when you don't expect them to. And it's impossible to hate a movie where Tom Waits for all intents and purposes gets to play God.”
A.O. Scott – New York Times
“Wristcutters: A Love Story has an offbeat, absurdist charm that turns a potentially creepy conceit into an odd, touching adventure. “
Ruthie Stein – San Fransisco Chronicle
"Wristcutters" is still a cut above most low-budget American indies, with something original to say about the human condition and an artful way of saying it.
In finding an approach to weighty matters that is neither heavy nor trite, it's more like a foreign film. "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" and Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy come to mind. This is hardly surprising considering the director, Goran Dukic, is Croatian and that "Wristcutters" is based on a short story by Israeli writer Etgar Keret. The horrors these two must have seen growing up creep into the afterlife they imagine.
Making an assured feature film debut, Dukic continually mines such unlikely subject matter for humor. He's aided by Fugit's winningly low-key performance. He plays Zia like the ultimate slacker, announcing in a monotone his post-death employment at Kamikaze Pizza.
When Zia learns that his girlfriend has killed herself in response to his suicide, he and Eugene head off on a road trip to find her. They soon team up with a hitchhiker (the sultry Shannyn Sossamon), who is looking for the nether land's leader so she can explain why she doesn't belong there, and an aging hippie, Kneller (Tom Waits), in search of his dog. The pup isn't named Toto, but it's hard to miss the allusion to "The Wizard of Oz" in the desires of these lost souls. “
Official site: http://www.wristcutters.com/
Sundance Film Festival 2006 – Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize
Independent Spirit Award 2007 – Nominated for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay
Ashland Independent Film Festival 2007 - Audience Award
Gen Art Film Festival 2006 - Best Feature
Motovun Film Festival 2006 - Audience Award & Propeller of Motovun
Philadelphia Film Festival 2006 - Best First Time Director & Jury Award for Best First Film
Seattle International Film Festival 2006 – Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director
Wisconsin Film Festival 2007 - Audience Award for Best Narrative Film
Lumiere - 06.11 - 15:00; Cineplex - 08.11 - 21:00; Cinema House - 11.11 - 21:00