WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? (ONDE JAZ O TEU SORRISO?) (directors: Pedro Costa/Thierry Lounas; cinematographers: Pedro Costa/Jeanne Lapoirie; editors: Dominique Auvray/Patrícia Saramago; cast: Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub); Runtime: 104; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lianne Willemont); Midas Filmes (DVD PAL format); 2001-France/Portugal-in French with English subtitles)

"An oddball film for a limited audience."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Portuguese director Pedro Costa ("Change Nothing"/"Colossal Youth"/"Ossos") captures the husband and wife filmmaker team of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub in action as they edit their feature film, Sicilia! (1999). For the vociferous Straub, there's a long rant on the subordination of form over idea. Straub also offers a running commentary on filmmakers such as Mizoguchi, Chaplin and Eisenstein, while his more subdued, practical and methodical wife keeps focused on the editing process.

We're left with the impression that the couple's uncompromising indie films shoot for dramatic abstractions and subtle psychology, and that even though their films are not big moneymakers they're happy with their results and would never sell out to make a film that didn't meet their artistic standards. The jaded Straub believes even revolution means replacing the new with very old things, and that humanity has no other way out but through violence.

The beauty of the film is in watching the filmmakers in action at their exhaustive editing process and seeing how every little detail does matter to them. It's an oddball film for a limited audience--those tuned into the unglamorous creative process of editing a film.

REVIEWED ON 3/14/2012       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"