An obscure one from the decade lists. I read a write-up in Cinema Scope while standing in the airport and it sounded fascinating, but maybe it only seemed so in relation to my surroundings. Watching it was dullsville. I should’ve known – here’s the Toronto Film Fest’s writeup:
A film that both partakes in and dismantles traditional ethnography, opts for mystery and natural beauty over annotation and artifice, and employs unconventional storytelling as a means toward historical remembrance. A rigorous, exquisite work with a structure at once defined and winding, the film traces the extensive journey of two unidentified brothers who venture from the outskirts of Paramaribo, Suriname, on land and through rapids, past a Maroon village on the Upper Suriname River, in a rehearsal of the voyage undertaken by their ancestors, who escaped from slavery at the hands of the Dutch 300 years prior. A path still travelled to this day, its changing topography bespeaks a diverse history of forced migration.
See that word “rigorous”? I’ve seen it before, and it means “dullsville”. I’m betting that Reassemblage and Wavelength and Jeanne Dielman regularly get described as rigorous. Although, I like Hollis Frampton and he is pretty rigorous, so it’s hard to say.
Since the movie only has 13 shots over its 130 minutes, here’s a screenshot from each of them.
1. washing up, setting some plants on fire
2. walking (rural)
3. riding the bus listening to auto-tuned songs
4. walking (urban)
6. panning for gold
7. loading the boat
8. on the boat
9. walking (town)/sitting by river
10. walking through jungle – gunshot!
11. more jungle: chainsaw and machete
12. costume festival
Katy says Suriname is in N.E. South America – good to know!