Friday, December 21, 2012

Abstract Distance

The Dream and the Silence/Sueno y Silencio (2012) - Rosales
sueno y silencio
An upper middle class Spanish couple with two pre-teen daughters live pretty normal life in France- Oriol is an architect and Yolanda a teacher. One day, they lose their older daughter, Celia, in a car accident. It was Oriol who was driving. He doesn't remember the accident and recovers quickly, mind and body. It's hard for Yolanda. She doesn't understand him not grieving as much as she. She wants to blame him but she can't. This all sounds like an emotionally charged melodrama but Sueno y Silencio is nothing but.

Rosales's detached approach accentuates the disconnect btwn the couple and the weight of their loss - dialog often happens off frame as in monologues, the fluid camera hovers aimlessly through the outdoors in grainy b & w photography and we often watch characters through the corridors in a distance and through the doors ajar.

There is a great poignant sequence where Yol talks to someone (off frame) in the playground, explaining her childhood memories of playing with her sister (she has a twin sister). It turns out that she was either seeing a ghost of her daughter or hallucinating. She insists to Oriol that he needs to go down there and see her himself. He goes down to the playground, looking for the ghost but finding nothing.

There are many things in Sueno y Silencio we are not seeing, like the fateful car accident or Ori grieving but that doesn't mean it never happened or happening. Glimpses of life's abstraction including brief color and painting sequences adds another dimension to what's already obscure. Sueno y Silencio has a lot in common with Lucretia Martel's Headless Woman. The socio-political aspect is not present in Rosales work but nonetheless, the film signals another major arrival of a potent filmmaker working today. I gotta check out Jaime Rosales previous films.

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