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Tim van Dammen
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A Ferocious Comfort Film - Slow-Burn Glimpses Of Inner Torment
My Rating : 7/10
"Relating a person to the whole world: that is the meaning of cinema."
The reason cinema exists is to comfort the jolted and jolt the comforted. 'Stray'- the title is very deliberately both noun and verb - is an understated fable of loss, alienation, banishment and - maybe - hope. (From Stuff NZ)
The film uses glimpses one after the other to reveal itself. It's a buzz best enjoyed alone in darkness. I watched it at the Dorothy Browns Cinema in Arrowtown, a place near Queenstown in New Zealand.
Lots and lots of beautifully striking static framing.
It says a lot without elaboration of everything, why is it necessary to spoon-feed everything to the viewers?
It reminded me of a lot of movies and yet nothing at all. Maybe Bresson's Mouchette or the recent Manchester By The Sea or maybe a more Tarkovsky-esque chilly poetic touch albeit more straight forward and uncompromising?
The film ends itself unapologetically in an abrupt manner which flys in the face of conventional filmmaking where everything needs some degree of resolution. It doesn't leave anything open to interpretation either which I found superbly brilliant. It's effective. It isn't exploitative of its main characters which is quietly powerful too. A movie experience akin to something impossible to answer: What makes us human? When do many grains of sand become a pile of sand?
It leaves you perhaps with the same emotions the characters feel like with some semblance of a solution. A textbook slow-burn movie. Not for the average movie-goer.
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