The Ear (1970)

13 04 2008

A convincingly suspense story that is, at its core, a really great examination of a messed up relationship. It shares more similarities with Night of the Living Dead than Faces, sure, but even the suspenseful aspects of it are engaging. Some of the camera work is a bit gimmicky, especially during the cringe-worthy flashback sequences, but for whatever reason, none of that ever really bothered me. I’ll always prefer a less intrusive (in terms of plot) look at relationships, but for what this is, it is really great. A nice surprise, to say the least.

A communist official and his wife return home late one night from a political dinner to find that their house has been broken into. The power is out, but only at their home. In the house next door, light is easily detectable. Eventually, it is deduced that they are being spied on. The uncomfortable situation is only made worse by recently surfacing marital issues.

As said before, this does run the risk of being quite silly at times, especially during the gimmicky POV flashback sequences, but it amounts to something substantial by the end. It certainly helps that even the most contrived of plot elements are presented in a deadpan tone. Despite the seriousness of the situation at hand (the subject matter lead to a twenty year ban) it’s actually quite funny most of the time. The humor is sincere, though, and often leads us to a more harrowing sequence. It’s not overwhelmingly great, which perhaps explains how troubling it is to articulate my thoughts, but it is a very good film.

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