Thursday, November 22, 2018

Healing Nature

I tempi felici verranno presto/Happy Times Will Come Soon (2016) - Comodin
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I loved the fable like quality of I tempi felici verranno by an Italian documentary filmmaker Alessandro Comodin. It's his debut narrative feature. Loosely connected stories in the lush green forest unfold playfully and organically with its mostly handheld camera work. We see two scrappy young men on the run- they might be army deserters or thieves. With the distant gunshots and barking of the dogs, they run deep into the forest. With their clothes and a musket they later find, you can guess that this is in the past, or is it? They take shelter in the cave and trap rabbits to survive. But not that long, their demise comes unexpectedly.

Then we are introduced to a small town folks being interviewed about a legend of a wolf lady. The old tale goes that there was a sickly woman from Paris who ventured into the forest for its healing power. A vicious wolf also lived in the forest, but instead of attacking and eating her, he became her protector.

Then it's Ariane (Sabrina Seyvecou), a local farmer's daughter who has a tendency to roam around the forest and digging up holes in the ground. Is she setting a trap or is she trying to find an entrance to a cave? One of the young man who appeared in the first segment finds her and they fall in love.

I tempi felici verranno presto is a beguiling mixture of folktales, documentary elements and deeply spiritual film full of wonders and rapturous beauty. It's an animistic, kindred spirit love story beautifully told. It reminds me of Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady in many ways. But it's not tethered to its region's history nor politics and concerns more about rustic nature. Just lovely.