Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 9, No. 3, 2010
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Diane Gordon
Nancy Snipper
Sylvain Richard
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Marcel Dubois
Emanuel Pordes
  Film Reviews
  Bowling for Columbine
Shanghai Ghetto
Talk to Her
City of God
Magdalene Sisters
Dirty Pretty Things
Barbarian Invasions
Fog of War
Blind Shaft
The Corporation
Station Agent
The Agronomist
Maria Full of Grace
Man Without a Past
In This World
Buffalo Boy
Shake Hands with the Devil
Born into Brothels
The Edukators
Big Sugar
A Long Walk
An Inconvenient Truth
Sisters In Law
Send a Bullet
Banking on Heaven
Chinese Botanist's Daugher
Ben X
La Zona
The Legacy
Irina Palm
4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Poor Boys Game
Finn's Girl
Leaving the Fold
The Mourning Forest
Beneath the Rooftops of Paris
Before Tomorrow
Paraiso Travel
Necessities of Life
For a Moment of Freedom
Blood River
By the Will of Genghis Kahn
The Concert
Weaving Girl

Kanji Nakajima's


reviewed by


The Clone Returns Home played at Montreal's 2009 Fantasia Film Festival. For the ratings, click HERE. C. Prince reviews films at

The Clone Returns Home is not for everyone. Although it was billed by critics as one of the top “must see” works at Sundance, it is at heart a capital-A art film that will appeal to a very limited audience. Put more plainly, this film is extraordinarily ‘slow.’ For example, the film includes what I think of as the ultimate ‘film festival scene’ — a scene that is tolerated and even celebrated at film festivals, but would be booed off the screen in any kind of normal theater environment. The classic film festival scene is a staple of The Clone Returns Home and goes something like this: we see a giant field, or beach or other large open expanse. From the far side of the screen, we notice someone walk into frame. Since we’re so far away we may not even realize at first that it is a person. Then, lucky us, we get to watch in real time as this person slowly walks across the field or beach or whatever over several eon-bearing minutes. During such scenes, there is often no dialogue, no plot development, and nothing to invest our attention capital in. Think of it charitably as a chance to reflect on what happened in the previous scene (since there is nothing else to do), or less charitably as an informal bathroom break. That kind of (contrived) sequence is typical of the film festival fare, and it occurs several times in The Clone Returns Home. Not everyone refuses it, I’m assured, and extremely patient audiences may enjoy it, but my guess is many people will find it tedious.

Which is a shame because the film serves up several engaging philosophical concepts (lurking in between takes of people slowly crossing fields), which I would have enjoyed even more had the ideas been subjected to tighter editing.

Billed as the thinking person’s sci-fi film, it tells the story of Kohei, a young astronaut who agrees to take out an insurance policy so that in the event he accidentally dies, a clone will be made of him, which will enable him to continue to live and to provide for his loved ones.

In addition to the ethical debates raised by the concept of cloning in general, it turns out there are all sorts of technical problems to producing a clone. To begin with, the first Kohei clone to be produced is too perfect — he remembers everything from earlier in his life, including many things that are better left forgotten (especially an incident involving his brother which has always haunted him). (Alert = small spoiler ahead) So the company decides to go ahead and produce another clone, thinking the first, failed clone had died. Soon, however, clones are bumping into each other, and it turns out there is a strange ‘resonance’ that affects clones and allows them to hear things other people can‘t — all of which ends up being very confusing for those in the audience who are still awake.

In full disclosure, I did start to nod off on this one, but I tend to think of that as a film festival’s version of natural selection — for those of us running around seeing films from early in the morning until well after midnight. The great movies captivate us and keep us awake no matter how tired we are, but if a movie is overly slow, dull or otherwise a stinker, no matter how hard we might try, we start to nod off. I hate it when that happens, but it is an efficient alert system in detecting a dull or unremarkable movie.

For the ratings of 2009 Fantasia Film Festival, HERE.
 = shared webhosting, dedicated servers, development/consulting
CINEMANIA(Montreal) - festival de films francophone 1-11 novembre, Cinema Imperial info@514-878-0082
Montreal World Film Festival
Film Ratings Page of Sylvain Richard, film critic at Arts & Opinion - Montreal
Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 10-21st, (514) 844-2172
Festivalissimo Film Festival - Montreal
2008 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL (Montreal) North America's Premier Genre Festival July 3-21
Montreal Jazz Festival
Armand Vaillancourt: sculptor
Available Ad Space
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis