Rumba, which begins its run on Friday, May 22, following a Wednesday-evening preview, is a loopy slab of filmic absurdism that has more in common with the work of Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco than with the movies of Keenan Ivory Wayans and Judd Apatow. Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (who co-directed with fellow actor Bruno Romy) portray a couple whose love of dance soon meets an immovable object: the wall of the tunnel into which their car crashes. The filmmakers have highly unusual ideas about comedy gold — jokes revolve around suicidal despair, the loss of a limb and brain damage — and thanks to their essential disinterest in dialogue, many scenes play like deadpan sketches from the silent era. The results are predictably scattershot, and the gags that bomb tend to go thermonuclear. But a handful of bits are guffaw-worthy, depending on how wrong one's sense of humor is, and the highly stylized look serves as a welcome distraction when the viewer is left waiting for Godot, or a reasonable facsimile.
Screenings are at 5 and 7:30 p.m. at Starz FilmCenter in the Tivoli building. Tickets range from $6 for Denver Film Society members to $9.50; call 303-595-3456 or visit www.denverfilm.org for details.