Sunday, 21 July 2013

MUSSELS IN LOVE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Gotta mussel fetish? Here's a movie for you!


Mussels in Love (2013) *1/2
Dir. Willemiek Kluijfhout

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Belgians apparently eat more mussels per capita than anywhere else in the world. The nation is positively mussel-mad and if your idea of a good time is watching these gorgeous creatures tossed live into vats of boiling water or cracked open and slurped down raw by ravenous Belgians, you'll find plenty to marvel at in the somewhat pointless feature documentary Mussels in Love.

For me, all I could think about was how beautiful-looking these denizens of the sea are and how barbarically they're cooked and consumed. Stunning macro photography provides every conceivable angle with which to admire these living beings that resemble human genitalia (albeit protected by shells).

In fact, when the movie just trains its lens upon the mussels in all their closeup glory, there's a fair degree of magic to be found. Alas, the movie itself just gets in the way.

The picture is pretty dull - mostly because it's all over the place. We follow stories of mussel fishermen at loggerheads with government intervention in their business, a chef who views the preparation of mussels as art and scientists who stimulate the mussels sexually to get them to reproduce. We view mussel harvesting in test tubes and then in the sea. We watch as they hauled from the ocean floor with nets and tossed cruelly into boats.

Much of this is either not a very pretty sight, nor always especially interesting.

One of the film's strands involves scientists researching the use of a special glue the mussels produce and how it can be positively used in surgery. This is good for about ten minutes of the film's running time.

Why the movie exists is somewhat beyond me. It's a hodge-podge of several strands that are never cohesively connected into a satisfying whole. One or two of the strands might have made a decent short film or two, but director Willemiek Kluijfhout seems, frankly, lost at sea.

"Mussels in Love" is in theatrical release via Kinosmith and opens July 26 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.