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The Five Senses

Feel/see/hear/taste/smell the pain of the sensitive souls caught up in this semi-satisfying Canadian drama.


Loosely interwoven plotlines about five characters representing the human senses: A magic-fingered massage therapist (Gabrielle Rose); a bespectacled teenage voyeur (Nadia Litz); a cake baker whose taste in men gets her into trouble (Mary-Louise Parker); a music-loving Frenchman who is losing his hearing (Philippe Volter); and a bisexual house cleaner who says his sensitive shnozz can sniff true love (Daniel MacIvor). Tying the stories together -- sort of -- is the search for a lost young girl in the vicinity.


The terrific ensemble of mostly Canadian actors doesn't have a weak link. Playwright/performance artist MacIvor and Hollywood import Parker break up the picture's melancholy tone with much-needed moments of sarcastic humor. Veteran French thespian Volter gives a complex, nuanced performance as a somewhat self-involved eye doctor whose impending deafness eventually generates real pathos.


Writer-producer-director Jeremy Podeswa has mixed success executing this abstract, thematically ambitious work. Visually, he and cinematographer Gregory Middleton serve up a true feast for the senses -- light streaming into imaginatively decorated rooms, close-ups of objects so finely textured you want to reach out and grab them. On the narrative level, the director has difficulty maintaining dramatic tension while intercutting between the several independent storylines.

Bottom Line

The art-house crowd might relish this type of aesthetic sensory overload, but mainstream viewers demand more old-fashioned story sense.


Starring Mary-Louise Parker, Molly Parker, Marco Leonardi, Philippe Volter and Gabrielle Rose.

Written and directed by Jeremy Podeswa. Produced by Camelia Frieberg and Jeremy Podeswa. Released by Fine Line Features.