‘Sunday’ Characters Play Game Of Deception

This is a film chock full of opposing forces: delicacy and roughness, hope and despair, isolation and community. And as a piece of moviemaking, it presents a similar conflict for the viewer.

“Sunday,” which won both the screenwriting award and the best film prize at Sundance earlier this year, is a frustrating film that challenges the viewer’s ability to get close, yet has an indelible power and grows stronger in impact the further away from it we move. We simply can’t shake it.

On a wintry Sunday morning, a middle-aged actress, Madeleine (Lisa Harrow) totes a dying palm tree through the Queens streets. She spies a man across the way. He looks like Matthew Delacorta, a famous film director she met once at a party. She hails her acquaintance, who responds to her greeting.

Only we know he isn’t really Delacorta but Oliver (David Suchet), an ex-IBM technician who has lost his family and job and is living in a men’s shelter until life invites him back into the fold.

The two characters continue with this game of deception and mystery through the course of the day. And they begin to reveal more and more about themselves - even crassly making love in the upstairs landing of Madeleine’s sad and crowded house (she’s separated from her husband, who still lives downstairs, and is engaged in a tiresome custody battle for their daughter).

Slowly, the layers of artifice are shed until, by night, the pair are literally naked. And as they gaze upon each other, frightened and open to possibility, they discover they must make a decision as to whether they can continue to expose any more - and if there is anything left to give.

Director Jonathan Nossiter weaves his camera slowly, spellbindingly over his very competent actors. He - along with co-writer James Lasdun - has crafted a totally adult mystery story that is as uncertain and shaky as real life.

xxxx “Sunday” Location: Magic Lantern Credits: Directed by Jonathan Nossiter, starring David Suchet, Lisa Harrow, Jared Harris, Larry Pine Running time: 1:33 Rating: Unrated, but contains adult language and full frontal nudity

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