"To locate oneself in a landscape one draws an 'x' - two independent lines crossing at a single point" - Jean-Pierre Gorin.
The narrator of Routine Pleasures - a European who has lived in America for 10 years - draws such a mark to locate himself in the landscape of contemporary American culture by crossing the work and thought of Manny Farber with the activities of a group of model railroad hobbyists. Farber, one of the most important film critics in America, makes large representational paintings with a narrative bent. The mode! railroaders work with the same objects found in the Farber paintings, and in their elaborate miniature landscapes they are involved in a similar form of representation. In their passion for detail, the model railroaders offer a skewed metaphor for the painter's work.
In Gorin's last film, Poto And Cabengo, he mounted a discussion of communication and language upon the case of twin girls who were thought to have invented their own language. In Routine Pleasures he has produced another eccentric and personal film essay which centers on a notion of work and artistic production, but refracts them through his own concerns with painting, politics, the great tradition of American buddy films, cinematic conventions, issues of representation explored at many levels, Farber's criticism, and Gorin's own work as a filmmaker.
Toronto Film Festival