Soon other characters are introduced, including a young woman working different menial jobs and a young male actor, named Peter. Peter’s scenes continue the uncertainty of narrative levels introduced in the film’s first scene; it is often unclear whether this is Peter’s life at the basic reality of the film or within a meta-narrative of a film within the film. As the film progresses, the meditation on reflections, doubling, and unsettled realities form not a subtext, but the film’s text itself. The film isn’t not about the Thammasat massacre, but it uses that event and Suwichakornpong’s connection to ask larger questions about cinematic representation and experience. In the Q&A following the film, Suwichakornpong stated that the film is both her love letter to and critique of cinema. She gives us a complex view of the nature of film; it isn’t reality or unreality, but a reflection in which it is often difficult to tell what is true and illusory, the two often existing simultaneously.
The film’s constant radical narrative and formal breaks build towards the ultimate such moment at its conclusion. The young woman dances in a night club, electronic music pulsing, the editing cutting between different angles of her in the transcendent moment of the ecstatic crowd. Suddenly, a digital glitch breaks down the image and transforms the sound, the night club replaced by a peaceful green landscape. It’s the brilliant kind of film moment which is not simply explained, but wonderfully felt. The entire film is like this, offering a calm serenity to wash over the viewer while also demanding attentive reconsiderations of the spectator’s relation to the narrative.
- Nick Malbeuf
The second round of Atlantic Auteurs was an eclectic delight. From the poetic drifting of THE WIND THE WAY to kaleidoscopic lake drifting in Folded River, from the quiet days of doubt to the frenetic energy of When You Need a Helmet, HIFF screened some definite favourites in this mix. Here are a few highlights.
days of doubt (Solomon Nagler)
This black-and-white, beautifully shot short is striking. Without a word of dialogue, the visual language is rich with much represented both on and off camera. Moments of an elderly duo's daily routines are imbued with significance as each mundane task, from washing a body to a leather bag, is performed with a kind of watchful silence and dedication. The care of the familiar and the ominous tension of passing time coexist precariously in the spaces Nagler creates here. In response to a question about a wounded bird trapped in the cluttered house, he recalls an old superstition that sees such an event as an ill omen or a portent of death, a connection he only realized later, but is one that underscores the film's weight.