Wonderfully eccentric, Brazilian/Canadian co-production Zoom is Pedro Morelli's sophomore feature, following drama Entre Nós he co-directed with his father Paulo, and also quite an exhibitionist debut for a cycling journalist-turned-editor-turned-screenwriter Matt Hansen. Presumably inspired by Escher's litograph Drawing Hands, it out-stranges Stranger than Fiction, another possible role model, with its knotty loop-the-loop structure. Described as "a multi-dimensional interface", in which three individuals author each others' destinies, it's certainly one of the most refreshing examples of a non-conformist filmmaking.
Looking like a blonde version of Thora Birch in Ghost World, Alison Pill plays a comic book artist Emma, who works in a sex doll factory, jealous of the inanimate gals' "perfect" bodies. After her sloppy colleague and boyfriend Bob (Tyler Labine) makes an ill-advised comment about her breasts, she gets a (very noticable) boob job - a wrong decision that sets events in motion... or more like in chaos.
Frustrated, she invents her dream man - a blockbuster director Edward (Gael García Bernal, in a rotoscoped form), who wishes to depart from his usual oeuvre. Going against studio executives' expectations, he starts to discover his feminine side through the auteur project about a model named Michelle (Mariana Ximenes), aspiring to become a writer. As you might already guessed, her book is about Emma... Oh, and let's not forget that, in another fit of rage, Emma drives Edward into the artistic dead-end, by significantly reducing his member's size.
So, what we get here is basically a film within a comic (brought to life) within a film, or in other words - a cinematic ouroboros of the goofy kind. A triplet of stories, riffing on the themes of both female and male insecurities, personal identity, higher forces, self-reliance, stereotypes and sexuality, eats away itself in an amusing meta-fantastic fashion. Notwithstanding this (beautiful) mess, Morelli helms his delightfully odd picture with an assured hand and a great sense of humor and healthy self-irony, while throwing darts at Hollywood hollows and exploring the creator-creation relation. His cast is as diverse as his sly stylistic choices, which reflect each tale's "shenanigans".
Emma gets stuck in an intentionally imperfect simulacrum of dimly lit American indie dramedy that transforms into a naively concieved crime-adventure. Edward is a part of the sex-fueled world of ink and colors, that could be influenced by Roy Lichtenstein's artwork, as well as Ralf Bakshi's opus. And Michelle stars in a well-minded parody of delibaretely paced arthouse flicks, and later on a mock-up (the key word is mock) of some boasting action hit finale. This quirky fusion of disparate ideas never does seem to be jarring, thanks to Adrian Teijido's keen eye, Luis Dourado's and Marcelo Souza's attractive animation, and Kid Koala's musical mischiefs. Zoom is by no means perfect (well, nothing is), but the flaws don't affect its irresistible charm.