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"Man is alone. Everyone lives alone with himself. The sooner you realize this, the better."
This phrase should particularly ring a bell for 14 year old, visually impaired Marta Rezkova. Her doctor and instructor advises this realization so that she can stop being afraid to "take the jump" and make a better effort to orient herself anew in her environment after losing sight. Focus on sounds, snap fingers to identify the degree of echo, learn Braille, use a yoyo to estimate the depth in front. But Marta doesn't seem interested. Not only does is the prospect of staying in a special boarding school until she graduates high school at 18 frightening enough, but Marta also believes that her sickly condition is life-long.
What exactly does she suffer from? It's not exactly blindness, because during her trip to the "life- threatening third floor", she tells a boy she sees "wave shapes, certain colours and movements", things she cannot understand and is unable to explain, i.e. a personal experience (or, as they were called in a different scene by someone else, "a private cinema" (resembling the concept of a "prisoner's cinema") with colours, lights and self- induced sensations) - phosphene. The film tries to visualize these through the occasional 'Vetigo'-like/Saul Bass-like on-screen visual effects and designs, that also nicely serve to quickly get to an entirely different scene, some of which are likely also part of Marta's imagination or memory. I was reminded of 'Vertigo' earlier though - right after the "blackout" and confusion there're the opening credits with mysterious music reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann's score. It nicely continues throughout the film to give a sense of anxiety.
I don't think that it's a coincidence that repeated terms and motifs, such as "nausea" after the "fall" in the "amusement park", the aforementioned "life-threatening" third floor with no railings (the cliff before the abyss of death?), dizziness, sickness, loneliness, eclipse, losing grip of reality, losing sight or "fear" before the "jump", correspond to an amalgamation of existentialist ideas and book titles. Marta is mocked in both schools she attends – first she must draw a monster blindfolded, but the teacher writes "self-portrait" above for the amusement of the class, marginalising Marta – the source of fun and mockery. In her second school she is unable to perform at a gym class and runs away. Moreover, she thinks about suicide ("such life is not worth living"), which she could do if she "let go" from the floor without a railing before "the abyss" (of which she dreams too), and sees a psychologist (that uses her in his research, encourages her to chant "Me! Me! Me! We're not afraid of anything" and love herself, that in the end helps Marta persevere and make the right kind of jump: the life-embracing one, where she faces fear and lands on her feet).
-"How do you perceive fear?" -"Black. ( ) I'm falling, dropping down very fast from a great height. It's all black. It's as if something slumped or tore off inside me."
Hence 'Incomplete Eclipse' is a nice allegory for a (coming-of-age) existentialist condition. It's just pleasant to watch. Technically and pacing-wise I was reminded of 'The Cremator': a fast pace, with some "illogical" editing, a voice-over, subjective approach and recurring motifs associated with height, falling and perception (there is quite the 'Vertigo' connection). This is the second Jire film I've seen (the first was "Valerie", which is one of my favourite films), and with both he shows competence and preoccupation with interesting themes, though "Eclipse" is more straight-forward and less layered.
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