Published May 01, 2004There's something to be said about the delicate art of the docudrama. Set in Vancouver, The Delicate Art of Parking is a farcical, ethnographic comedy about the life and times of the parking enforcement officer. We've all been on pins and needles for this tale to be captured on film. As a story, the crux here is at first glance quite simple. Documentary filmmaker and chronic parking violator Lonny Goosen's (Dov Tiefenbach) car is impounded. Naturally he's pissed off about this injustice and he organises a camera crew to bum rush the show and reveal the cowardly ticket-giving posers for the bastards that they are.
Well at least that's the slant we're presented with early on. Lonny's crew, with Russian boom mic operator Olena (Diana Pavlovska,), soon end up in the home of Grant Parker (Fred Ewanuick), a meter maid diehard who, despite receiving unrelenting abuse from the public, lives for the giving of the ticket. Grant's life, as does that of the entire parking enforcement gang, centres on the impeccable career of Murray Schwartz (Gary Jones), his purported best friend and mentor. The crew then meets up with Jerome (Tony Conte), an endearingly funny French Canadian tow truck driver. From henceforth, we are dragged literally and figuratively through intimate parking officer monologues on the icon that is Murray Schwartz, not to mention the turbulent life and times of these real people just doing a job. The melodrama is nicely controlled in this film, with redeeming and unexpected moments of laugh out loud kneeslappers.
Parking unfortunately too often teeters on the line between sheer comedy and awkward mockery. As the plot unravels, so to speak, the esoteric awkwardness of the story becomes its central theme. However, while this satirical film, which asks why the hell do these people give us tickets?, at times loses its focus, because we've all been there and paid or didn't pay that, it somehow remains engaging. (Cinéma Libre)