In the City of Sylvia
En la ciudad de Sylvia
In this programmer’s opinion one of the greatest films of the twenty first century (and the one before that), Guerin’s masterpiece is a spellbinding contemplation of contemplation, the act – and the art – of seeing. The camera follows a young man (Xavier Lafitte) as he haunts a café in Strasberg, in search of… Sylvia, we guess. He gazes avidly at women. And we gaze too, watching him watching, seeing what he sees. Reminiscent of a Chekhovian short story, In the City of Sylvia is very simple and utterly transfixing, and it cuts to the heart of what the cinema is about. It is a film about love, the image, and desire, it is simultaneously silent (wordless) and a (song-less) musical, it is concrete and abstract, experimental, all this, and a sly discourse on Hitchcock’s Vertigo too.