By Lucy England.
‘The Ten Commandments of Chloe’ is the second outing for director/producer Princeton Holt and musician/actress Naama Kates. After the success of their first outing ‘Cookies and Cream’, the duo move to Nashville with Kates’ Chloe Van Din as she tries to make it in the music business. The spanner in the works is the love interest Brandon, played by Jason Burkey, who is desperate to learn more about the mysterious newcomer.
Same old same old right? Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Nope, not this time. Yes, there is a little bit of falling. But the girl with her ten of her own commandments promptly gets up, dusts herself off, and proceeds to bang on the door of what seems like every single bar in Nashville.
The American setting does nothing to drown the film’s European sensibility. If you said nothing happens, you’d be missing something. But if you said a lot happens, you wouldn’t be quite right either. What comes out of this is a film with a personality as difficult to pin down as Chloe’s, completely absorbing while still remaining classily understated.
While the idea of Chloe’s ten commandments could paint the film as a ‘how to make it in show business’ type feature, the documentary-like shooting style gives the tale of a budding musician some grit. And in any case, these commandments are more related to how to make it in life than merely restricted to the chasing of fame. This framing mechanism guides as Chloe grudgingly integrates herself into the hearts of Nashville, Brandon, and the film’s audience.
Therefore, whereas Brandon is constantly asking ‘Who is Chloe?’, as audience members we are seduced by the film in its entirety. We don’t need to know more than that the film – and Chloe herself – is music.
Her nondescript back-story only hints at some troubled past – refreshingly it doesn’t bang you over the head with her ‘tale of woe’. For what Chloe struggles with most is writer’s block – her own self expression. Instead of a needlessly lengthy soliloquy spelling out who she is and why she does exactly what she does, Chloe relies on her music.
Naama sums up the nature of Chloe’s art in an interview with Yahoo. In her view, these songs are a ‘soundtrack to an unexamined life’. The score is enigmatic without being obvious or self conscious, a characteristic the entire film shares.
So. Is the question ever answered? Who is Chloe? Will she ever take her music to the stage? Not telling. This one is definitely worth a watch. Find out for yourselves.
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