30 October 2018 | ericobnn
Pretentious and very slow. Nothing really happens
This is one of those post-modern films that has no real story to speak of and relies mostly on visuals, with long shots (sometimes 30 seconds+) of the same nature scenes where nothing is happening (e.g. several different shots of the camera just staring at a bonfire).
The film begins with the "main character" Alba* going missing and everybody looking for her at night, then goes back in time before she went missing and follows some of her vague thoughts about life in the village and some supposed ghosts that inhabit it.** Outside of these sequences with her thoughts and some character monologues (i.e. a teacher giving a class), the film is mostly silent. It is meant to be a visual experience above all else, displaying quaint rural life.
Let's break down the synopsis, which drew me to this movie with the promise of something deep:
"Thirty Lights is a journey into a world that slowly disappears, seen from the perspective of four girls who inhabit it."
"Slowly disappears" only in the sense that rural life is being replaced by life in big cities. The village is not fading from existence.
"(...) where many magical rituals prevail and where nature stands with a unique force capable of directing the lives of its inhabitants. Its own rhythm, tradition and heritage seek their survival through the transmission of the most intimate and sensible essences."
Pretentious drivel to say that the countryside has a different rhythm and lifestyle.
"'Thirty Lights' glares into the resistance of life against the impending mutation of death, by accompanying these girls into the moment of rite, a time where anything can happen in a world where only the belief in the invisible will capture all its energy and strength."
Sounds awesome when you read it, but nope, outside of a few CGI will-o'-wisps showing up during the long nature shots and end up having no significance, there is nothing supernatural going on.
In conclusion, if you like post-modern art, which pretends or thinks itself to be a lot more than it really is, then sure, give this movie a shot. Otherwise, your time is better spent elsewhere.
* = I put it between quotes because she's only the main character due to getting slightly more screen time than anybody else, not because she has any pertinence to whatever semblance of plot this movie pretends to have. The main character of the movie is actually the village she's in.
** = The only reason I won't spoil the ending, which is very unsatisfying, is because I'd have to mark this review as containing spoilers.