Tuesday, March 18, 2014
IIt maybe a SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS (2014) but who's going to ward off this film? New Directors New Films 2014
This is one of three films at New Directors that will reappear on my worst of the year list. In a lot of ways this maybe the worst.
I have no idea what to say.... I wanted to see this film. I bought into what the write up said:
...one of the most bewitching cinematic experiences to come along in a great while. In A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness, Robert A.A. Lowe, the celebrated musician behind Lichens and Om, gives a strangely affecting, perhaps even trance-inducing performance as the film’s Parsifal figure, a quixotic man who embarks on a quest for utopia—the holy grail of infinite truth, self-knowledge, and spiritual connectedness. ... for us, it is purely magical
But that isn't made clear or even suggested in the film.
What is in the film are long, I mean freaking long takes, sequences that begin and end nowhere, and no clue as to what the point of it all is.
If you walk into the film blind, you'll find the film's first section, is set in some sort of commune or country house. People come and go, sauna, eat and hang out. Who are these people? we don't know. What are they doing? no clue. It looks like you're watching someone's home video. The effect is to leave you to ask what the fuck is going on?
The second part of the film follows one of the people in the first part as he rows a boat, wanders the wilderness, fishes and generally takes the center of the frame in long long, I mean really freaking long shots/takes where nothing happens. One interminable shot has the man sitting in a boat fishing- holding a fishing pole. As the shot goes on it begins to rain. He never moves. More shots of him in the wilderness follow before the image fades to black.
The third part of the film is what appears to be a single half hour minute take of a black metal concert. The camera moves round the band. (The jump from dead silence to loud music made the few remaining critics in the screening laugh at the directors audacity at waking up their sleeping audience). After about 25 minutes of music (which genuinely isn't bad if you like metal) the man we've been "following" all along, and had been playing with the band, wander out of the club into the night.
What's it all mean? No clue.
And to be perfectly honest without the guide of the write up it's all random bits.
Yes the bits look lovely.
Yes the music is pretty good
Yes some of the talk is interesting.
But none of it hangs together. To be perfectly honest until Robert A A Lowe takes center stage in the second part of the film he's a non-entity. He's also a non- entity is the third so the chatter it being about him is a crock of BS.
Yes I will argue this is pointless. I'll even argue with the directors because quite frankly what they are saying outside of the film is NOT whats going on inside it. They've made a film that's all in their heads and not on the screen.
I know you're asking- why does the film suck?
A couple of reasons.
First none of it hangs together. Even allowing this is an experimental film, nothing hangs together. There is no reason for all of these things to be together in anyway.
Secondly its pretentious. This is the work of a bunch of guys who are way too inside their heads for their own good. Its supposed to be about something. Yea and if I had wings I'd be able to fly.
Thirdly it drones on and on and on and on with no indication of the point. There are just long sequences that go on for no discernible reason. If it's about Lowe finding a place it's hard to tell if he does since his expression almost never changes.
You'll forgive me if that wasn't entertaining, but frankly the truly snarky comments were bled out of me when I trashed this after the press screening. Now all that remain is rage at the thought that people are being asked to pay to see this.
Unless you need an hour of sleep (the music will wake you up) skip this.