Movie of the Day – Duck Season
August 24, 2011 Leave a comment
We have all seen movies that deal with that awkward phase in a teens life. I am not talking about growing hair in weird places or the act of watching your voice drop an octave, but the act of coming into your true self and the shape in which your personality will become. It is the classic coming of age story that usually finds our intrepid young actors figuring out life and their place in it. These themes usually revolve around parental strife, a girl/boy that the character likes or some form of hardship that a family goes through. For better or worse we get a happy ending of the sorts when the main character figures out their place in life and all goes well in the world. So while the genre might seem stale, all it takes is one movie to shift that established notion of the coming of age story, which director Fernando Eimbcke did with his minimal film Duck Season.
The movie follows a lazy Sunday between two friends, Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Cataño) who are 14 and have been friends since early childhood. They have a plan to just play video games all day and eat pizza until they are stuffed. A sudden power outage leaves the boys without power and a need to find an escape from their boredom. They meet up with their next door neighbor and a pizza delivery man who all engage in an adventure that leads the pair of boys to contemplate the uncertainty of their life and why their parents are currently fighting over a painting in the house.
I don’t want to really give away a lot of the story, since there isn’t much to really go off of with the minimal film. Coming of age stories that involve teens usually have a fast pace and quick, frenetic action to show the tumultuous time and feelings that the kids go through. Duck Season takes it time with static shots and lets the action of the boys and their adventure unfold in front of our eyes. The director had a small budget to work with and it helped ground the movie in a more natural setting and pace, instead of this fast paced whirlwind of emotion. The boys contemplate their parents action and their lives, trying to understand what to make of it all.
The tone of the movie is to portray that friends are the thing that gets you through the tough times in life. Flama and Moko are by one another sides throughout life and the lazy Sunday that turned into an adventure is just another step in their lives as friends and in growing up. The interactions they have with the young neighbor and pizza guy give them two outside perspective on life, one from an older adult and the other an older teen. It shows them that their lives can take many different turns, but it is up to the boys to determine how their lives will turn out. The film leaves us with the same uncertainty that the boys have at the end, never really revealing what conclusion or outcome the boys come to.
Duck Season isn’t really an intensive movie in terms of story or visual appeal. It’s not much of a time commitment either at 90 minutes, but the story moves quickly and you are engaged the whole time. I like the shift in how we don’t get a real ending for the boys in terms of them figuring out the answer to life. Life is ambiguous and so should their outcome. It’s a nice change of pace from the typical thematic fare.