Editors Note: “Price is Right” is a running column from local film enthusiast Mr. Price. He reviews selected Strasburg Film Festival films. If he posts a negative review, then the Shenandoah Film Collaborative will respond within his reviews as to why we selected the certain film. By going about it this way, we can help ensure the reader that these are honest film reviews.
“Rendezvous in Chicago” is set up to be the story of a relationship from beginning to end. But it is the unique structure of the story, three separate scenes taking place at the beginning, middle, and end of three distinct relationships, that gives the film its unique and striking character.
The three vignettes are connected by nothing more than the fact that they take place in Chicago. The characters are only given one extended scene each in which to present their section of the overarching story of a relationship’s progression. Due to this fact, the vast majority of the weight of the film rests on the performances of the actors, who fully deliver on the ambitious project. From two strangers meeting in a bar, to a couple just taking the first steps towards marriage, and finally to the aftermath of a bitter breakup, the performances given in “Rendezvous” manage to tie together unconnected events into one story. Of particular note is Nina Ganet as Julie who, in the film’s third act, pulls off the difficult task of having almost all of her performance take the form of a one-sided dialogue delivered directly to us, the viewer. This invitation for the audience to become a part of the story is a bold crescendo to a film that already stands out for its unique approach to structure.
“Rendezvous in Chicago” manages to tell one story by telling three stories. And by blurring the line between viewer and character, also creates as many additional stories as there are people watching. Superb writing, backed up by stand-out performances against the gorgeous visual backdrop of the titular city, make of this film an experience unlike any other.