Review: Sinema Showoff! Beyond Paradise (Part 1)
The recent Sinema Showoff! event was titled Beyond Paradise, and the four films screened that night were all shot overseas. But beyond the literal, the themes in some of the films were also meant to provoke questions as to what ‘paradise’ really means.
The various protagonists of the films go about their own ways to search for some mystical Edenic world, but eventually wind up learning to find happiness by negotiating with the world around them. The standout film of the night was Anthony Chen’s Lighthouse. Here’s a quick review of the shorts.
1. Lembranca (Reminder)
Mauricio Osaki | Portugese | 18mins
Synopsis: Joana is a teenager that loves to see the world through her computer. She is forced to live with a “uncle” while her mother is away and must work out her problems without her virtual world.
Review: The film, which aims to show Joana’s perspective of the world, is a conflicting mess. It employs cutesy animation to portray Joana’s apparently optimistic worldview, or maybe to endear Joana to us or something, I dunno. I’m guessing it’s just self indulgence on the part of the director.
The sporadic episodes of animated texts end up confusing audiences. The entire film is shot in black and white – an attempt on director Osaki’s part to articulate the idea that the world seen through a digital medium can never be as colourful as one experienced through life – and its dull colour palette lends the film a mildly morose quality. So then these bright, cheery animated interludes seem wildly incongruous to the entire feeling of the film.