Sunday, November 30, 2014

RETURN OF SUSPICION (2014, Dean Kavanagh, Ireland, 93min, A+30)

RETURN OF SUSPICION (2014, Dean Kavanagh, Ireland, 93min, A+30)


What I think about this film:

1.It is easily one of the most beautiful films I saw this year. What I like very much in this film is its extremely poetic quality. It is like HISTORY OF WATER (2012) and A HARBOUR TOWN (2013), two previous feature films of Dean Kavanagh, in the way that it seems to tell no obvious stories at all. I feel “wonderfully lost” watching three films. I mean because these three films have no “narratives” or “stories” that I can cling on to, I feel “lost”. I feel as if I was drifting in strange, unpredictable currents of sound and images. I don’t know what is happening. Many times I don’t know what is depicted on the screen. I can’t predict what will happen in the future. All I can do is experiencing the sound and images of the film. And experiencing them yields a truly wonderful feeling.

I admire Kavanagh very much for these three films’ uncompromising quality. To make films as uncompromising as these, the filmmaker must be very strong-willed. Kavanagh is now one of my most favorite contemporary filmmakers. I like him as much as I like Rouzbeh Rashidi and Raya Martin. There are not many filmmakers I know who still keep on making extremely experimental feature films like this.

I admire Kavanagh not only because his films are uncompromising, but also because he is very talented. It might be easy to make a non-narrative film, or a film which tells no stories. It might be easy to place some random images next to each other.  But if you are not talented, the film you make can feel so flat, so boring, so uninspiring, or so pretentious. However, it is extremely difficult to make a poetic film which can make the viewers feel some kinds of indescribable or sublime feelings like these.

2. Talking about talent, I think this film shows that Kavanagh is very talented as a director, a cinematographer, and an editor. The film is very powerful for me, but its power does not come from the story or the performances, but comes from the beautiful, enigmatic images, and how these images are placed together.

There are so many gorgeous images in this film. Some of them are very much like paintings. One of the most beautiful images in this film is the one in which we see a reflection of drifting clouds on a woman’s face.

As for the editing, I like the fast editing in some scenes, including the first time we see the image of a girl flashing for a second on the screen, or the first time we see the image of the radiance of the sun in a forest flashing for a second on the screen, before the scene is cut to the next sequence. The fast editing near the end of the film is brilliant, too.

3. Though the film seems to tell no stories, I think the film has “a climax” for me. And its climax is in the minutes 55-60, when we see the image of a woman on a boat, a man on a train, and a woman on a train alternately. The film cuts back and forth between these three images very fast, and it gives me a kind of climax or orgasm. But don’t ask me what this scene means. I just know that it overwhelms me completely. And I think its power comes from the talent of Kavanagh as an editor, a cinematographer, and a poetic filmmaker.

4. Though I don’t know what the film is trying to tell or convey, some images or some scenes in this film inspire me to imagine some stories in my head, though I can’t imagine one single story which can cover all the scenes in this film.

This film inspires many stories in my head. For example, I think about a murder story after I saw the scene in which we see a dog walking around a moving hand which later stops moving. Is the owner of that hand murdered? Who is that figure walking around in a forest and trying to evade from other people? Are there some myterious stories or secrets in this village? Why do some characters seem to search for something or some clues in an abandoned, dilapidated house? Is the scene starring Rouzbeh Rashidi and Maximilian Le Cain a flashback of what happened in that mysterious house? Are there some kinds of dark power or mysterious ghosts in the forest? The film inspires me to imagine some stories which share some elements with TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALKS WITH ME (1992, David Lynch) and DREILEBEN: ONE MINUTE OF DARKNESS (2011, Christoph Hochhäusler), because these two films present some mysterious forests, too.

As for what is shown near the end of the film, it inspires me to imagine a story about the construction of a golf course which leads to the destruction of a forest. Hahaha. Because the film shows some images of a cartoon character playing golf, and juxtaposes it with some vulgar scenes of people having sex, it seems to stand in contrast with the scene in which we see a man caressing a tree tenderly. And in Thailand we used to have some problems with the construction of some golf courses, so these scenes inspire me to think about some environmentalist stories like that, though I know that is not the purpose of this film. Hahaha.

Though I can’t help imagining some stories while watching some scenes, what I like the most in this film are not these stories in my head. What I like the most is what I have said before—the feeling of being lost in a forest of strange but wonderful images.

5. I like the extreme close-up in some scenes very much, because I don’t know what is being shown in these scenes.

6.Another scene which I like very much is the scene in which we see two characters play with the shadow of a tennis racket or a badminton racket. It is very strange, beautiful, and eerie. It makes me imagine that these characters might be searching for a treasure or might be invoking a spirit.

7. It is very difficult to think about a film which has something similar to RETURN OF SUSPICION, because this film is very strange. However, if I have to screen this film together with a film by another filmmaker, I may choose to screen it together with some apocalyptic films made by Teeranit Siangsanoh, because in Teeranit’s films, we sometimes see characters wandering around in an old, dilapidated house, searching for something which we don’t know, too.