Aug 12, 2019

Ralf's Colors (Lukas Marxt, 2019)

☼☼☼☼☼☼☼☼ out of 10☼

"A total void, that’s all I’ve learned."

Neither a documentary, nor a (science) fiction film, Ralf's Colors (originally, Ralfs Farben) can be described as a wry, deadpan, eco-friendly "half-fantasy", to borrow the term coined by the titular protagonist. It may also be labeled as a pre-apocalyptic mono-drama somewhat comparable (yet superior) to Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Homo Sapiens, as well as a spiritual younger brother of In Praise of Nothing by Boris Mitić. 

Whatever you choose to call it, one thing's for sure - Marxt's feature is a strange beast. At first glance, it doesn't bite (although it features an enigmatic black and white dog in several scenes), but when you approach it from a tilted angle, it suddenly sinks its teeth into your preconception of it. Dyed with Ralf's meandering musings - often elusive ramblings of a schizophrenic recluse - it is an intriguing portrait of a man whose inner workings are shaped by his desolate surroundings.

The windy locations of Lanzarote, Canary Islands, are beautifully captured in austerely magnificent compositions interrupted by glitchy psychedelics halfway through the film, and a dizzying superimposition involving an old, scratched helmet and a flickering shot of volcanic rocks. Time seems to stand still in Marxt and Michael Petri's imagery, and physical space turns into a puzzling abstraction. An extra dose of mystery is injected by an evocative, sparsely employed flute tune which eschews the meaning in favor of a disorienting feeling best reflected in Ralf's following words: "I still haven’t really arrived in this world."

Ralfs Farben is playing as a part of Locarno FF selection on Festival Scope until August 31, 2019.

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