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VERMONT IS FOR LOVERS

USA, 1992 (MIFF 1993)

Director: John O'Brien

There is a kooky charm pervading John O'Brien's ridiculous, romantic and unpretentious comedy set in the picturesque Vermont countryside. Made on very little money but enormous goodwill from the director's Vermont neighbours, the film plays like a polished home movie — a journey into a decidedly unfashionable but totally lovable slice of American life.

Into this rural idyll arrive two stressed-out New Yorkers (the rather officious George and the angst-ridden Marya) who escape to the countryside to get married. Pre-nuptial nerves cause tempers to fray and the couple decide to separate until the actual ceremony is to take place, each seeking advice from locals. Thus director John O'Brien takes the opportunity to introduce us to an array of colourful, garrulous Vermont old-timers, all of whom bring humour and wisdom to the soon-to-be-wed and to the film.

In a classic and uncluttered improvisational style (using an outline, three pages of notes and mainly local, non-professional actors, who are his neighbours and friends), the director constructs a film that isn't really about plot but is about milieu, and creates a work of rare and mysterious charm.

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