SIFF 2012: White Camellias (no stars)

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on June 9, 2012)

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As an armchair cultural anthropologist, I’ve always found dinner parties to be a fascinating microcosm of human behavior. Ditto genre films; some of my favorites include The Anniversary Party, The Boys in the Band, and Don’s Party.  Unfortunately, White Camellias will be unable to join them this evening. Cybill Shepherd stars as a 60-ish artist, who has assembled a “perfect” Spanish-themed soiree. If all goes as planned, she hopes to rekindle a romance with a man she once had a fling with in Spain. All doesn’t go as planned, beginning with last-minute guest cancellations and heading downhill from there. I suspect that all didn’t go as planned for the film makers, either, because this attempt at romantic melodrama plays out as unintentional comedy instead. How bad is this film? One moment, our hostess recites poetry by Federico Garcia Loca to moon-eyed friends; in the next, a guest’s boyfriend loudly demands to know why his lover never tongues his ass. Good times!

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