After too much time spent in a sanitised, childish setting, vacation resorts can feel very surreal. But never weirder than in Ian Lagarde’s first feature. Mike is a quiet, corpulent tourist, who enjoys the routine in a South-American resort to the point where he could stay there forever. After an encounter with an octopus on the beach, bizarre events occur. Mike starts to perform miracles.
For All You Can Eat Buddha, cinematographer-turned-director Lagarde crafts an eerie counterpoint to Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise: Love (2012), where all-you-can-eat buffets and all-inclusive delights replace sex tourism. The film unfolds into deadpan, Zen-like, unnerving visions as Mike becomes the inscrutable Buddha of the title. Clients come and go, the resort is not immune to some political events out there but Mike stays the same. Lagarde slowly draws us into a dreamscape, reminding us that at the end, as the Talking Heads sang, "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens".