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Review: Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes is one of the final movies to have screened at the Hot Docs film festival, because it was not finished until right before the fest began.

Now that it is playing in Canada, it still feels unfinished. This not because there is anything particlarly stunted or somehow skunky about the film, in fact, quite the opposite, it is a rare vintage by Jerry Rothwell and Reuben Atlas. Instead, it feels unfinished because the story of Rudy Kurwanian, whomever he is, (the central figure of the movie, Kurwanian seema to have committed bottle fraud), is still ongoing.

In fact, many of the drinking buddies of Kurwanian, who passed off artificial bottles of wine that appealed to sophisticated palettes, (or to, let’s be honest, a sense of having what others don’t have), do not realize that the story is unfinished and that Kurwanian (if that is his real name), didn’t put one over on them and will re-emerge.

The filmmakers sadly did not get to interview Kurwanian, (probably still in hiding), so though there are Sour Grapes from some of his friends, others are probably unaware that they have been ripped off, or, interestingly, as the filmmakers suggest, they just don’t care. The money doesn’t run out, and there are always going to be figures like Kurwanian to prey on those with more money than brains. This is especially interesting when considering that Rothwell’s previous film, which debuted just over a year ago at Sundance, is How to Change the World, about the founders of Greenpeace.

This film clearly doesn’t seem happy about the exploitation of serious oenophiles, but it’s doubtful that Rothwell and Atlas weep for them. And it’s nice to see author-turned-wine writer Jay McInerney appear. This is a indeed another story of a Bright Lights, Big City.

[star v=35]