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  • In reverse order, I have seen «Costa da Morte» (2013) after watching «Lúa vermella» (2020) and it is evident the evolution of Galician filmmaker Lois Patiño in the organization of his narrative discourse. In the documentary there is the same pictorial inclination of the later feature, but, unlike it, the ordering of the shots does not have the same cohesion or the same flow that «Lúa vermella» has. Undoubtedly, the filmmaker gives us an exuberant audiovisual panorama of the coast that was once the "end of the world", of the people who live in its vicinity, of their activities and settlements, but, at times (and I don't know if it was intentional), the film breaks the hypnagogic effect and, from the enchantment it achieves in round sequences, another reality captures and forces us to begin again to delve into another piece of the "Patiño aesthetic".

    There is a moment in the film that serves as a significant structure of said aesthetics, of Patiño's "audiovisual archeology", and it is when six shots of the same place follow, separated by black frames: it is the same angle, but they are not continuous shots. A detail always varies, the color of the sky, the sea that enters, the wet land that remains when it ebbs, the light of day, a vehicle, a human figure... I do not like to interpret, but I, at least, thought about a possible reflection on the relativity of perception of an environment, its components and conditions, among which, without a doubt, our state of mind plays a key part.

    If I were Patiño, I would re-edit (as so many filmmakers have done, from François Truffaut to Ridley Scott, through Lucas and who knows how many more) «Costa da Morte», a film where space is the protagonist, where the camera does not approach its inhabitants: it is a film with wide shots that show the vastness and majesty of such space. The celebration in a city is a wonderful ending, with joy on the coast, lights, music, games and fireworks, rounded off with a return to the coast, with the lighthouse spinning in the silence of the night. However, the film covers all the bases with a certain "orderly disorder", it has several endings and, when you think it ends, a new sequence begins.

    However, no one who sees the film will forget the region. I would not stop recommending it: watch the documentary. I'm sure that when you see «Lúa vermella» later, you will better appreciate both the film and the evolution of Lois Patiño.
  • Imagine five minutes of HD surveillance footage of matchstick pines being cut down in a fog- bound forest and you've established the languid pace for "Coast of Death." The film comprises many such protracted shots of not much going on. Some of the photography is artful; most is not. There is no narration to tell one what one is seeing but some scenes are accompanied by conversational dialog, seemingly recorded at a distance from the subjects in the scene, which says nothing of any substance. This visual montage of Galicia, the northwest corner of Spain, reminded me a bit of a narration-free Joseph Losey flick I saw years ago called "Figures in a Landscape," but that one at least had a Kafkaesque pot tying it together. Not to put too fine a point on it, "Coast..." has none.

    Although it is obviously intended to be an homage to the Galician coast, even Gallego nationalists would probably find it tedious. There is some pretty interesting footage, if one only knew where it was and why it was included.

    At its showing in the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival, probably 10% of the audience walked before it was even half over.