A supernatural art house thriller about a group of friends left behind by a federal zoning quarantine when an experimental chemical weapon leaks into the atmosphere. The gore hits the fan when a mere attempt at shelter becomes their worst fears. Written by
Keitj T. Alin
Neither a barge nor its wind--I think....Spoilery Review
I saw A Barge And Its Wind at its DVD release event, having unfortunately missed the premiere several weeks ago at the Cedar Lee Theater. A Barge And Its Wind is the latest from local (Cleveland) indie filmmaker Keitj Allen. It is ostensibly a low budget horror film, ostensibly following the last few hours of the lives of four people in a Cleveland waterfront warehouse. An introduction tells us that a government experiment is afoot, and that some diseased cloud is wafting about preying on those too ornery to evacuate.
The bulk of the movie tracks what, on the surface, appears to be four characters (three men and a feminine voice of reason) as the diseased cloud takes them out one by one. One of the male characters seems to be a baseline; another is extremely impulsive; a third is self-absorbed.
There is little dialog between the "characters" other than conflict, and the scripting style that I've seen on display in Keitj's other shorts is on full display here. Scenes seem laden with symbolism and hidden meaning, few things are straightforward representations, and apparent non-sequiturs (such as a scene revolving around a childhood nightmare) seem almost to be the most important scenes in the film.
I don't think that, if you look at the characters as symbols of the destruction of the main character's psyche, much will be spoiled by telling you that they die, one by one, as the main character loses his grip on reality, or that (if I followed) he is the one flashing back to childhood nightmares and equating them to what is going on around him now. My interpretation of the film is that (for whatever reason--and I'm not sure some mysterious barge is to blame--it may be a symbol of something bad arriving into his life) we witness one (and only one) character's disintegration into madness. Parts of himself are literally at war with one another, and they "die" as he gradually loses control.
Keitj mentioned in his pre-screening comments that he has gotten some comments along the lines of "what was that about" or "what happened"? This is more of a symbolic film, without a pat answer at the end, and with a lot more screaming, shrieking and general chaos as any semblance of reason disintegrates. I would recommend the film, particularly if you enjoy short films that make you go back and scratch your head about how symbols might be interpreted.
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