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IFFR 2022 Harbour

Review: Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real

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- Artist and filmmaker Edgar Pêra blurs the lines of 3D and HP Lovecraft in this experimental take on reality

Review: Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real

A “3D talking picture” is how Portuguese artist and filmmaker Edgar Pêra describes Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real [+see also:
interview: Edgar Pêra
film profile
]
, his experimental endeavour to connect human primal fears, Lovecraftian monstrosities and modern 3D-movie technology via a common thread. And while modern three-dimensional movie-making may evoke all three of them, there is a deeper sense of purpose to this 62-minute ride into visual obscurity and the depths of philosophy. The movie screened in the Harbour section of International Film Festival Rotterdam.

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“Reality is always more than we can say about it, and art is a way of getting to that,” one of Pêra’s interviewees, author JF Martel, states early on in the film, and the director stays true to this. A vivid, hallucinatory assembly of gimmicky shots of the director walking downstairs and along streets, as well as eloquently produced sequences of tree trunks or marine creatures floating through the frame, is only half the story.

Pêra inverts the colours of the visuals, using the negative images throughout the running time of his film. It’s only occasional flecks of natural colour or positive footage that subvert the provocative film installation. The likely goal is to create an illusion, engross the viewer and forge new realities. Frames start being overlaid on each other, there are visual flashes, and the picture jumps from one scene to the next. This trance, into which the movie draws one deeper with every passing minute, is scored with experimental and electronic music.

Serving as a backdrop to the sequences that are otherwise free of context is prose by HP Lovecraft, performed in a gravelly growl by Keith Esher Davies, as well as statements by interviewees. Pêra speaks to literature critic ST Joshi, author Robert Spadoni, programmer and curator Olaf Möller, cybersecurity professional Justin Bracese, film academic Michele Aaron, media scholar and film critic Jan Distelmeyer, and mathematician Rudy Rucker. They trace 3D back further than modern pop culture would ever be able to, in an interdisciplinary way.

“The opinions of the masses are of no interest to me,” Lovecraft’s writing states. Rather, he seeks means of self-expression. There is an undeniable parallel with the way Pêra seeks to express himself in Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real. Both exhibit similarities to the teaching of shaman expert Terence McKenna. Acting as a gateway to a different world, transcending the daily occurrences of their surroundings, they unlock “unknown spirits” and new experiences.

The Lovecraftian monstrosities derive their name from the original meaning of “monstrar” – to show or reveal. What is 3D, if not something revealing new realities or creating a new realism? Pêra emphasises this, letting the screen in front of the audience come alive. The astonished spectators will get the chance to interact with a motorcyclist descending into the movie theatre, freed from the two-dimensional limitations of the screen. With Lovecraft, one is never quite sure what the cosmic limits of his gaze are. 3D, too, has only just scratched the surface of what is possible.

Even though Jackass 3D has officially been declared a 3D masterpiece by more than one person, there is an eagerness to excite people – one that trickles down not only through the passion of the people on screen, but also through Pêra’s stylistic and visual choices. Cinema is a way to feel things. As Distelmeyer says, it’s “something you can’t get hold of, something that is just happening”.

Kinorama – Beyond the Walls of the Real was produced by Rodrigo Areias and production company Bando à Parte. It is also distributed by Bando à Parte.

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