Sunday, March 02, 2014

NON-TOUCH'S REVIEW ON "HSP: THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THE TERRORS OF THE MIND"



This is a translation of what Non-Touch Rafael Ram’Jazz wrote in Thai about HSP: THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THE TERRORS OF THE MIND:
 
HSP: There Is No Escape From The Terrors Of The Mind (Rouzbeh Rashidi, Ireland/UK/Iran/Oman, 2013)
 
I’m very interested in double image and persistence of vision in this film. Double image in this film is done by the superimposition of two images. Persistence of vision is a way to make moving images for human eyes. To make it simple, an image which our eyes perceive will linger in our brain for 1/25 second. So when 1/25-second-long images appear sucessively in front of our eyes, we will see a moving image. Examples of moving images include flipbooks, cinema, shaking a pen in order to make it look like being bent, or the case in which we gaze at an image for a long time, and then we suddenly turn to watch a white screen or close our eyes, we will still see the former image lingering in our eyes.
 
The process of superimposition in this film is interesting. We see two images on top of each other. Sometimes each of these two images comes from a different time and a different place. Sometimes each of them comes from the same place, or the same time. Sometimes each of them belongs to the same series of images, but the degree of brightness in each of these two images is different, so it causes double vision, because two lingering images are perceived and transmitted to our brain at the same time. This film is an experimental film or an avant-garde film. It has a story, but a very thin story. It is about a man who left Iran, which is his motherland, and came to live in Ireland. The film doesn’t focus on telling a story. It focuses on cinematographic techniques, and innovative editing, because it has a lot of superimposition, which conveys the memory of his journey from Iran to Ireland. This journey seems not to be so good, because images and sound in this film convey some indescribable pain.
 
Double image in this film is done by many techniques. Some techniques that I can observe include:
 
1.Superimposition which is done after the shooting, or done in the editing process. This is done by superimposing images in two layers, and lowering the intensity of the images to make them look more translucent, so that we can see through one image and perceive the other image. Normally, when we have two images, the one which is more intense will become the back one or the main one. But in this film the degree of the intensity of the images are the same, so we don’t know which one is the main image and which one is the secondary image. Sometimes one of the two images falls into complete darkness, but doesn’t fade away, so it makes the other image clearer. This is a very strange technique. The darker it is, the clearer we will see. It is the opposite of the mechanism of human eyes which needs bright light in order to see. It is as if sometimes when we close our eyes, we can see things more clearly.
 
There is also another kind of superimposition in this film. In this kind, we can distinguish easier which image is the main one and which image is the secondary one. In this kind of superimposition, one image has a smaller aspect ratio than the other one. The aspect ratio of this film is 1.85:1, but the aspect ratio of the superimposing image is 1.33:1, so it makes the images look like what we see when a projector beams another film onto the main film. It is as if the other image belongs to another film which is independent from the main image.
 
2.Double vision which is done in the shooting process. From what I notice, the filmmaker used a double lens which is like what was used in the film POST TENEBRAS LUX (Carlos Reygadas, 2012). In this category, the two images we see simultaneously are shot at the same time and in the same place, but with different lenses. The lens in the middle is different from the lens in the perimeter. I feel pleasantly strange every time I see this technique used since POST TENEBRAS LUX (Seeing this film in a theatre satisfied me very much.) We see two images of the same thing staggering on top of each other but not completely. These two images move simultaneously. And sometimes it seems as if it is not shot by a double lens, but by a broken lens, so the composition of the images is not as perfect as it should be. I like this technique very much. The shot which impresses me the most is the shot in which we see a Persian man standing on a desert cliff, but the overlapping of the two images cuts the image of the man vertically, and the head of the man is swallowed by the crack of the image caused by the difference of the lenses.
 
3. The flickering of images. The flickering of images is caused by discontinuous light that we perceive. Light which doesn’t continue long enough can’t make persistence of vision. The images that we see will be swallowed by darkness. What we see is the image, the darkness, the image, the darkness, ..., and continuing like this.  I regard this flickering technique as a kind of double image, because when the darkness takes over the screen space completely, we still see a blink of the former image in our eyes together with the black screen. The lingering image on the black screen is a blurred one. It is not as vivid as the image which we see in the former second. The black color makes us see blurred images, or images from the past which linger in our eyes. This technique is different from the superimposition done after the shooting which I talked about in the first category. In the first category, two images exist at the same second. When one image goes out, we will see the other image clearer. But in this third category, a flickering image is an image which is discontinued. This image is interrupted repeatedly by a black screen. The blurred image which appears on the black screen is only a lingering image which we just saw in the 1/25 second before that moment.
 
Apart from double images done by these three main techniques, there is also the mixing together between these techniques. For example, in the scene in which the mask seems to appear in front of a photocopying light, we see a black screen at first, then we see a blurred image of the mask, and then we see the image of the protagonist superimposed onto the mask image. When the mask looks bright, we cannot see clearly the image of the protagonist. But when the screen turns darker, we can see clearer the image of the protagonist.
 
The use of sound is interesting, too. The sound in this film is the master of horror film soundtrack. The soundtrack which comes in low tone kept me awake all through the film. The characters also speak with echo effect. Their voices reverberate in our ears. It seems as if the images and the sound of this film travel into our consciousness, and shatter our memory endlessly.
 
The original writing in Thai can be found here: