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  • Warning: Spoilers
    (originally written in 2009, after watching it at the Cinanima Festival, in Portugal)

    What an interesting film, in the right moment. After a very rich festival, interesting, with which i'm still dealing right now, i have several high points to remember. This film is, of all the experiences i'v had, one of the strongest, more fascinating, and which interests me the most, for my personal interest in studying the relations between space and the exploration of that space through visual media. This film is one of the best recent experiences i've seen in film which approaches so directly the theme. On those matters alone, it already deserves to get into a special list, that i'm making, of films that matter to my mental construction of the theme space and cinema.

    But the interest of the film goes beyond that. Let's see what it's about. There's a story. That story has to do with the advantages of difference, in a world where everything is black, the difference the red one can make. Ordinary, so far. Than, there is the idea of a cycle, which transpires into the whole narrative. The Lavoisier idea that everything becomes other things, and everything inevitably disapears. This is better stuff, because the film visually supports the text it chooses. All this is reasonably interesting, but it doesn't take my breath away, or makes me dream beyond normality.

    But than there's something that yes, fascinates me, and yes, it is made in an exemplary, nearly perfect way. It is incorporated in the story, and it is absolutely supported and compensated by what we see. The story has to do with beings who build the space they inhabit, use, develop. We see the construction. The film starts inside spaces, supposedly natural, but already interesting, where the insects pick up the cubes which will become the pieces that will mold the spaces later used for experimentation. We get to see the picking up of the pieces, we get to see the transportation and, more important, we get to see the actual construction of each space, until the last piece. Finally, after this, we see those spaces, which do not exist only in the abstract world of the story, they are really built, so the camera can photograph them. Now, check this: even though there is digital support in the post-production of this film, it is mainly a stop motion. This means that not only the insects are real objects photographed, but also that every space we see is actually a built model, conceived to be photographed. This means that when we see insects building space, it's like a folding of the constructive characteristics of the sets, it's as if we were actually watching the working process of the film. The story of the film is the story In the filme. Subtle, well done, and architectural!

    Some of the spaces are well conceived, for the pretended effect. The initial caves, the dome built with (sugar?) cubes and a space built with perfurated plaques. About this last space, which actually i thought was the most interesting and complex, and probably more adequate to be explored by the camera, i missed a bigger investment in its lighting, a more careful ilumination of the shots made there. The advantage (to me) of using those perfurated plaques is the possibility to create environments through light difusion. But that would fight the general imagem of the film. The camera bets mostly on side travelings, to give unity to every shot, and the exploration of space has mostly to do with angles and pov. There's nothing invented there, even because it's quite hard to expand even more the glossary of possibilities Tarkovsky and Welles gave us. But we have a consistent work here. My major complaint is the fact that, towards the end, the film fully abdicates its spacial exploration to enhance the less interesting bits of the story.