Bitter Harvest Release Date: 4 December 2001 (Hungary) Genre: Drama Director(s): Goran Paskaljevic Writer(s): Christine Gentet, Goran Paskaljevic, Stephen Walsh Staring : Colm Meaney, Adrian Dunbar and Cillian Murphy I somehow get this feeling that this will be the first and last film from director Goran Paskaljevic that I will ever review. I also get […]

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Bitter Harvest
Release Date: 4 December 2001 (Hungary)
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Goran Paskaljevic
Writer(s): Christine Gentet, Goran Paskaljevic, Stephen Walsh
Staring : Colm Meaney, Adrian Dunbar and Cillian Murphy

I somehow get this feeling that this will be the first and last film from director Goran Paskaljevic that I will ever review. I also get the feeling that this will be the last time I ever type a word that has P, K, J, and V in it.

Ardustry Home Entertainment, after exhausting their collection of the old A-Pix titles they purchased (the licenses of which must be expiring rapidly), is currently testing the waters with their Moonstone Home Entertainment line by bringing out a few arthouse films to accompany their usual eclectic array of titles. The pick-ups actually do make sense, as while they may not make as much money as horror or action, they’re certainly cheaper to obtain.

With the business side of things discussed, the question falls as to whether the consumer would want to watch one of their titles. After enjoying Potluck, which definitely wasn’t thought of as an art house title by the company, Bitter Harvest is the second film of this kind that I did quite enjoy. But just like Potluck, I was far from loving it.

Going around a few film festivals under the title How Harry Became a Tree, the retitled Bitter Harvest is based on an old Chinese folk tale. Set in 1924’s Ireland, Harvest follows the inner workings of a mind belonging to a person who lost his grip on reality long ago. Farmer Harry, who has a kind wife and a slightly off son by the name of Gus, is searching for an enemy. In his twisted psyche, a man without enemies is a man who isn’t living life properly. Searching around, he comes to the conclusion that the perfect nemesis is kind pub owner George. While the one-sided feud continues with no one quite understanding his motivation, Gus winds up falling in love with George’s maid. Harry knows that this is the time to truly screw over George, but the results of his wedding contract turn out quite different than how he hoped.

I’m not sure why Bitter Harvest obtained bright-faced reviews by festivalgoers. Sure, it’s ripe with interesting symbolism, scenery, and humor, but that’s not nearly enough to excuse its shortcomings. It’s a slow movie with periods of nothing, and while the downer ending worked to a certain extent, it was a letdown after all the build.

And just to prove myself wrong; Paskaljevic.

DVD: Barebones.

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Bitter Harvest, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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