Laura (Jackie Van Beek) and her husband, Bruno (Damon Herriman) have had better days in their relationship. Laura is feeling the stress of her work and Bruno has lost that spark that they once had. Then one day Laura’s mother gives them a gift, a weekend retreat where they can go and learn about each other and rekindle their relationship.
Unsure about the generous but unusual gift, they accept and find themselves heading off into the woods to find themselves and each other. However, the allure of Bjorg (Jermaine Clement), the inspiring guru who leads the group may be too much for their marriage.
Nude Tuesday is a comedy drama from New Zealand with a unique and quite ingenious premise. That’s because every actor in the film is speaking gibberish. Then once filming had finished, English comedian and actress Julia Davis was given the task of writing the subtitles – and allowed to say anything she liked.
What comes across as a stroke of genius, an idea the likes of which surely could have been considered before becomes quite refreshing in today’s cinematic landscape. What could have been just another foreign language film becomes something that talks about how we all approach films that are not in the English language, or avoid them entirely.
Nude Tuesday seems to have broken that barrier, giving its audience an experience of watching a foreign film, but without actually having to watch one. This means that audiences nervous of having to read while they watch a film can feel comfortable with knowing that everybody else is in the same boat.
However, there could have been many ways in which to make the film and for those looking for something suitably weird to go along with the leftfield concept may be disappointed. That’s because the decision was made to follow the story on screen with the subtitles. It may have been a different experience if there was a wildly different story in the subtitles than what was seen on screen. However, doing so with a clear idea of the visual language of the film means that the story becomes the drive of the film.
As a story in itself, Nude Tuesday is fairly ordinary with some quirky elements. However, the added aspect of the subtitles and made-up language end up just being a gimmick. There are moments that will raise a smile like the imaginary language put into popular songs and it may even encourage audiences to watch more foreign films. However, the majority of the humour depends on your familiarity with foreign films and your relationship with sex.
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