Lara’s a beautiful but reclusive patient in a sterile mental hospital. Cruelly domineered by burly orderlies and a coldly leering senior nurse with a sexually charged sadistic streak, Lara’s only escape is the dream world she enters when she gazes upon her goldfish in its bowl. And what a world it is, full of evocative music, the beautiful blue of the ocean and the playful companionship of friendly dolphins. Only Jacob, a handsome young orderly who senses her longings for the sea and the comfort it provides her, slowly and gently reaches out to her in the real world. However, this only draws the ire of the nurse, who has Jacob expelled and Lara restrained in her bed. Like the ocean, however, love usually gets its way. Farhad Yawari’s “Dolphins” is simply one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen; each shot in this cinematic love poem an exquisitely crafted frame of aching beauty. Although there’s not a word of dialogue in the entire film, to simply call “Dolphins” a “silent film” would be a gross misrepresentation. Beginning and ending as if it was part of an Enya music video, with stunning underwater photography of a nude Lara swimming in formation with a dolphin, the film, with its powerful and evocative score, is more accurately a breathtaking filmic symphony; a simple love story told in an entirely different way. At forty minutes, it’s a handful too long and its over-the-top portrayal of the mental patients is unnecessarily jarring. That being said, “Dolphins” is still one of the most unforgettable films I’ve seen in a long, long time.
Posted on January 29, 2000 in Reviews by Merle Bertrand
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