Friday, 30 March 2012
The Arriviste 
The Arriviste, the debut feature of Pascal Santschi, is an ultra-low budget Indie film – the director achieved the incredible feat of completing it within a budget of $10000, thus setting a record for the least expensive film shot on 35mm. Having had to work under such a paltry budget, Santschi didn’t just have to operate under various constraints (which obviously gets reflected in the film too), but was also compelled to don innumerable hats while making it and resorting to loads of ingenuity. The darkly funny, noirish and labyrinthine plot is about a young guy living in a cramped apartment who falls headlong into a murky affair concerning his elder brother with just a few days to go before his probation period expires. There isn’t any dearth of popular iconographies vis-à-vis quintessential neo-noirs, viz. corrupt cop, shady deals, double crosses, blackmail, and even murder. Though the rather vanilla photography couldn’t capture the inherent moodiness of the storyline (perhaps going the grainy B/W route might have helped in this regard), that was more than made up through usages of smart camera angles, a fine and low-key background score, and a breezy narrative that hardly lets one relax. Though the lead actor’s performance isn’t worth much writing about, those by some of the supporting cast – especially, the smart-ass cop and the desperate writer, were noteworthy. And the irony-laden climax was a highlight of the ingenious plot. Given the monetary constraints under which this was made, it would be a folly on my part to speak about the production values; but, that said, it did remind my about another low-budget, darkly funny and irony-laden Indie neo-noir debut by a filmmaker who has now become quite famous, viz. Christopher Nolan’s gleefully engaging Following.
p.s. Mr. Pascal Santschi was kind enough to contact me and send me a screener copy of this movie, which he plans to self-distribute. I humbly wish him a great Indie and filmmaking career ahead.
Director: Pascal Santschi