There are at least three ways to interpret the second collaborative effort of Maximilian Le Cain and Rouzbeh Rashidi. Split in two distinct parts of approximately the same length, their film may appear like a twisted de(con)struction of the Pygmalion and Galatea myth told in reverse, translated to modern times, and adorned with a wry or rather, wicked sense of humor. It can also be viewed as a clash between a man’s conscious and subconscious mind, the former being dominated by (pure) feminine energy, and the latter ruled by (violent) masculine urges (or maybe it’s vice versa?). According to the official synopsis, it chronicles two ‘narratives’ set in parallel dimensions and linked by a seaside residence in which a woman (Eadaoin O’Donoghue) “dissolves her identity into the ghostly resonances”, whereas a man (Rouzbeh Rashidi) “pursues a bizarre and perverse amorous obsession” (code: mannequin).
Regardless of the perspective one takes, the physical space remains a constant – the third character of sorts that shapes and commands the claustrophobic atmosphere, and simultaneously opens its doors and windows to a multitude of possibilities. Imbued with mystery, and often implying some ominous presence (not unlike a David Lynch’s film), the house interior keeps the cinematic air at its thickest, leaving the exterior exposed to a potential illusion-shattering assault. But even those few instances of the “outside world” undermining the film’s uncanny reality paradoxically strengthen the illusion, acting as whims rather than cracks in the 4th wall, the main reason thereof being a strong connection between both authors’ life and creative work.
Speaking of their creativity, Le Cain and Rashidi employ everything from unexpected superimpositions to hypnotic flickering to unsettling juxtapositions to black, white and blue screen intermissions in the process of image-conjuring, and as a result, they elicit a mixture of fascination and puzzlement from the viewer. Draped in a heavy sonic tapestry of moody drones, murky murmurs and unnerving humming, their visuals are, in equal measures, richly textured, almost material, and ghostly ethereal, relentless in their elusiveness. These “grainy apparitions” beautifully capture the woman’s ennui and fluctuating mental states, as well as the man’s impossible romance and simmering frustration stemming from it, yet all the while, they manage to preserve the status of self-sufficient systems...
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