The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
“Celestial Clockwork” is a riotous carnival of music, colors, witchery, sexuality and magic. It's pitched at approximately the same level of seriousness as “Flying Down to Rio,” and if you approach it in that spirit, it's infectious and funny. The opening scene is lifted from “The Graduate,” the plot recycles “Cinderella,” and some of the visuals seem inspired by Godard and others by Jodorowsky. If Almodóvar had made this movie, it would have been hailed as his best work in years.
Because it has been made by a more obscure director, Fina Torres of Venezuela, it will be approached with suspicion in those circles where whimsy needs a pedigree. Too bad. It's rare to find a relatively unknown director with so much style, and the confidence to tell a silly story about silly people just for the fun of it.
The movie opens with Ana (Ariadna Gil) deciding at the altar that she cannot marry the man standing next to her. She flees from the church, packs her Maria Callas poster on the way to the airport and flies from Venezuela to Paris, still in her wedding gown. On her journey, elements of magic realism sneak in: Taxicabs change colors and clouds scurry surrealistically across the sky.
In Paris, she finds a place to stay with four other women from South America and soon has two jobs, as a cleaning woman and a bakery worker. She dreams of being an opera singer, and sings on a rooftop in the rain--an enchanting moment in a movie filled with music, both Latin and operatic. Soon she has convinced a voice coach to take her as a pupil, and she dreams of auditioning for the great impresario Italo Medica (Lluis Homas), who is casting a film of Rossini's “Cinderella” and needs the perfect unknown.