The film proceeds in an unhurried fashion, from one static shot to the next, with edits more often than not bringing about changes in time and space, rather than additional vantage points on events. Solnicki resists the urge to coalesce his vignettes into a more structured narrative experience.
The Girl Without Hands is based on the Grimm fairy tale of the same name about a young girl escaping from the devil after her father sells her for gold. Animated entirely by Laudenbach himself, the film seems to be in motion even on the rare occasion where it is standing completely still.
Tavernier approaches his subject not only as a film lover but also as a film director who knows his way around a set, a man with an inexhaustible appetite for dish about behind-the-scenes goings on and an insatiable curiosity for what makes movies tick.
As the cinematic past increasingly recedes we will probably see a lot more films like Dawson City: Frozen Time, a documentary that attempts to reacquaint viewers with film as film at the same time as it eulogizes the former material basis of the medium.
The juxtaposition of different kinds of interiority, of a living space and a headspace being simultaneously invaded, is sophisticated and clever. It is also not quite enough to offset the accumulation of cliches that Shults uses to shape his story, which is little more than pretense for shows of stylistic force.
While the New York–set Hermia and Helena carries on the alternately fastidious and freewheeling sensibility of his previous Shakespeare films, it is the first to be set outside Argentina, as well as the only one thus far to engage with the Bard in English.