Someone Else in the Evening (2010) – By Josh Samford

The independent film community offers up a lot of variables, but its that odd film every now and then that pops up that truly makes this job worth doing. I won’t say that Someone Else in the Evening is a film that will change your life, but for viewers with more than a passing interest in character depth and engaging performances this is a feature that may turn out to be something special. Director Edgar Muniz and Laura Benson have managed to craft an interesting meta film that defies convention and ultimately holds character and performances above what one might consider to be an ‘entertaining’ three act story. That is not to say that Someone Else in the Evening isn’t an engaging and entertaining cinematic venture. This is simply not the sort of movie you’re going to watch with your brain turned off. It enjoys a completely different sort of narrative than most are going to find acceptable. Open minded audiences however will find an enriching experience that throws them under the bus with its audacious look at human interactions.

Someone Else in the Evening is a fictional drama presented in a very intimate and nearly faux-documentary format focusing on Eva (Laura Benson), a art student working on her thesis project which is a theatrical play dealing with romantic relationships. Her play, which starts off as an intimate story showcasing the reality of human interaction, is slowly becoming more and more complex. As Eva begins to lose herself inside of the work, the play becomes more complex and surreal in nature. Her original goals are lost and new ideas arise, but are her ideas simply fabrications that hide her own inability to commit even to a relationship? As the work starts to disassociate itself from the original intimacy it once had, so does Eva with her relationships in life. Her boyfriend (who is a married man) is no longer that appealing to her and she’s starting to lose touch with her own emotions. The question then becomes, is the art draining the emotion from the artist? Or is her own lack of emotional equipment sending the work into this downward spiral?

There are so many interesting ideas at work in Someone Else in the Evening and it would be all to convenient to simply dismiss it as yet another low budget art house piece, but the amazing thing about the feature is how fully developed it is. The ideas aren’t simply there as a means of seeming intelligent, the film actually brings up interesting ideas about writer’s block, the emotional toll of art and the torture of the artist when deciding if a completed project is actually complete. Those are just three themes to pick up off the top of my head but the entire project is completely open to interpretation. It is an entirely artistic production and although it is not without its faults (I’ll get to them in a bit), I was thoroughly impressed with the film. From the very start, you get the feeling that this is something a little bit different than the average independent. The opening ten minutes features sparse use of actual dialogue and ultimately nothing that actually sets the film in motion. We watch our leading lady wander around her apartment, we see her talking with her actors but ultimately the film starts things off by setting a mood. Although some might mistake this for the filmmaker not having much to say, it comes across for me as a case of using the artistry of film to deliver a more methodical pace.

The narrative qualities help illustrate how unusual the film is, as for the most part we’re given very little in the way of any kind of expositional dialogue. Truly the only back story that we discover throughout the film is given by the voice of a professor who calls Eva and leaves messages during the course of the film, but this is not done in a heavy handed manner. Not in the least. These sequences are actually as character focused as they are tools to further the literal plot. They aren’t heavy and they show the forced isolation that our character puts herself through. Very heavy moments and we see this isolation in her work as the play is becoming less and less about real human emotion and more a piece of self-absorbed pap. The dynamic of her play and the reality of the character is infinitely interesting to me. This is mainly due to the fact that the character of Eva is so complicated and different from what one might expect, especially when the character was written for and by the actress. Eva is not a particularly likable character. Certainly not due to any actions of her own, but we can easily forgive her due to the intense stress she is under. Getting to know this character in the midst of her crisis, we see her only when she is at her most selfish and lacking compassion or patience for anyone around her. However, we see these glimmers of actual passion and we understand that at some point she was maybe a more whole individual.

To summarize a few more positive points about the film, I’ll say that the music is used in a sparse manner but is done very well. Also, the performances are universally great. The performances are done in what I have to assume is an improvised fashion, evoking the cinema-verite leanings of John Cassavetes work. The performances are relaxed, realistic and draw you in. The finale with the character of Eva facing her own intimacy issues is shocking, bold and engaging. As far as the negative comments I could muster, I have to say that at just sixty minutes the film could have been stronger as either a short – or even with another twenty or thirty minutes worth of exposition with these characters. It won’t be a film that everyone can get into. It is a showcase of acting talents and experimentation in narrative structure, but I personally loved it. I have high hopes for this director, as well as the cast. I hope to see great things from all involved! You can read more about this movie at the official website:

http://someoneelseintheevening.weebly.com