There is a scene at the beginning of Box of Moonlight that is particularly memorable. The proper foreman, AI Fountain, who is obsessed with time, works with his team on a construction assignment in an unknown small town. He has difficulties in relating to his fellow workers in a natural and spontaneous way. Despite that, one evening he decides to accept their invitation to one of the hotel rooms to play a game of poker and to be sociable. As he approaches the room, he can hear that they are having a discussion about him and what do they say? That he is so boring that clocks stop, stiff as a poker and completely hopeless as a human being. Only an actor like John Turturro can convey the feeling of pain, of resignation that arises from such an awkward, humiliating situation. Other scenes - that one remembers after the film - have a more cheerful quality. A playful fight, throwing tomatoes at a field covered in hazy afternoon sunlight; a naked man jumps into the water at a quarry with a merry laugh; an unforgettable National Day celebration on acid. The background to these scenes is that AI chooses not to tell his wife and children that the construction assignment has been called off and that the workers could head for home earlier than they expected to. Instead, he rents a car and decides to visit a place where he used to swim as a child. It turns out to be a disappointment since the lake is contaminated. Later the same day, he runs into The Kid, an anarchistic young man dressed in a Dave Crocket outfit. For various reasons, they spend six days together; they are two people who could not be more different from each other, but gradually they begin to like and understand one another. Actually, it is not a particularly original idea: a man in his forties is hit by a crisis and starts to revalue his life. But Tom DiCillo has included so much humour, love and sympathy in this story that it is difficult to not be charmed by it. It does not matter that the story takes place in what seems to be an ancient, stagnant America: where the worn out, shabby life in a small town is contrasted to the untouched and mighty nature. It is a film everyone can identify with and feel for the characters. Maybe it will change someone's life, who knows. The fact is that Box of Moonlight is as unusual as a successful existential comedy with magical elements - you could almost guess that by the charming title. LJ

Box of Moonlight
Tom DiCillo
107 min
American Independents
Skandinavisk premiär
John Turturro, Sam Rockwell, Catherine Keener
Marcus Viscidi & Thomas A. Bliss
Tom DiCillo
Jim Farmer

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