The Five Senses

Canadian writer-director Jeremy Podeswa’s watchable and sensitive first feature, Eclipse (1994), was one of those narrative daisy chains in the manner of La ronde. This one’s another, and in some respects it’s even better, not only more ambitious (as in the various ways the five senses are worked into the crisscrossing story lines) but more nuanced. The main characters include a widowed massage therapist (Gabrielle Rose), a cake baker (Mary-Louise Parker) who can’t speak the same language as her Italian lover (Marco Leonardi), a couple of sexually transgressive teenagers (Nadia Litz and Brendan Fletcher), a house cleaner (Daniel MacIvor) who hunts down old lovers in the belief that true love has a particular smell, a French eye doctor (Philippe Volter) who’s going deaf, and a little girl who disappears. The story didn’t fully answer all my queries about the characters, but did such a nice job of keeping me interested that I wound up appreciating the mysteries that remained. 105 min. (JR)

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