review – the ideal

This unique and highly stylized film hails from the country of Latvia. The surreal journey opens with a decidedly less than “ideal” aging rock star and a young beauty immeshed in a bizarre relationship, where the beauty aspires to satisfy the rock star’s every desire for perfection. Director Uldis Cipsts then takes us by the hand and leads us to a fourth wall breaking doctor who — for a price — will cut, carve and otherwise reshape anyone to their heart’s content. Or, in this case, to the satisfaction of our rich, aging rock star. Making a house call to check on the results of his latest surgery, the almost whimsically sociopathic doctor can sense that the desired perfection is still not quite there yet.

With an exchange worthy of trading for a new set of tires, the rock star reveals that his desires have evolved, and much as in our never-ending, consumption based society, he needs just a little bit more. This time though, it’s not her looks he wants to fix, it’s her mind. Without missing a beat, the dear doctor says he’s already got a donor waiting. Retiring to the doctor’s seedy hotel-turned-plastic surgery center, the young beauty gets her new thinking apparatus, while the less than ideal looking donor is discarded like a piece of meat. However, our aging rock star appears to have bitten off more than he can chew with his new, ideal woman as she decides to do a little tweaking of her own.

In the end, one is reminded of the parable of the man who searched the world for the perfect woman to marry. Alone and on his death bed, the man relates the tale of his quest to a friend, who says, “I guess you never found her then.” “Oh no, quite the contrary,” the man says, “but alas, she was seeking the perfect man.” Through it all, these filmmakers have created quite a visual feast, with a set design that is a veritable grotesquerie of crushed velvet and ostentatious furniture. Actor Louie Fontaine’s fun portrayal of the deadpan rock star paints a fitting portrait of a man consumed by nothing but superficialities, while Olga Lesnova has a nice bit of fun playing the dim-witted beauty, turned cunning femme fatale.

All in all, this film is a great effort from a nation not known first and foremost for its film industry. The level of technical proficiency demonstrated was excellent, with some really nice camera and lighting work featured throughout this short film. It’s an atmospheric, edgy and fun fantasy ride that has fun shining a light on the shallow, media generated ideals that permeate our society.

To learn more about this film, check out the link below:

The Ideal