A Dutch family left Holland to transform a 400 year old monastery into a home, artist's workshop, and nature preserve. Filmed entirely in remote village in Portugal, Convento bends the ... See full summary »
A Dutch family left Holland to transform a 400 year old monastery into a home, artist's workshop, and nature preserve. Filmed entirely in remote village in Portugal, Convento bends the rigid structure of documentary filmmaking, blurring the lines of information and surrealism Featuring the renowned kinetic artist Christiaan Zwanikken and his family. Written by
Odd, interesting and beautifully photographed documentary.
An artistic and quite off-beat Dutch family unit (a mother and two adult sons) live in an abandoned monastery in Portugal. We get a little back-story on their lives and how they got there, but mostly we focus on their lives in the here and now; the mother, an ex-prima ballerina, and then choreographer in Holland now spends her days gardening, so the family can largely live off the land. One son mostly cares for his horse ("my best friend") and the animals on the land, while the other creates surreal, complex, disturbing and fascinating kinetic sculptures made from dead animals brought to macabre, nightmarish life with gears, wires and some basic electronics.
The film doesn't dive deeply into their personalities or motives for their life choices, mostly letting us in by quietly observing both the family and the beautiful location itself.
The pace is quite leisurely (too much so for me at times). I didn't find the film had a lot of emotional impact, I was sometimes frustrated by the lack of context, and by certain choices (for example; lingering too long on one artwork, not letting me see enough of another for my personal taste) but it was also quietly hypnotic, dream-like, and gently, amusingly thought- provoking - valuable qualities in themselves.
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