Bucharest ShortCut Cinefest

FILM REVIEW

'AN EXTRAORDINARY PLACE'
- Directed by VALENTINA D'ANNUNZIO -

From the early moments of this film - and its very title - viewers may initially think that this may be a different kind of story and there’s undoubtedly a catch at the very end.

We observe a pregnant stylistic point of view in which the camera always avoids the eyes of the subject. All following thoughts are coming from the perspective of a blind man.

Shakespeare said that eyes are mirrors of the soul, but in this case, the sight and the image of the main character’s soul are made from words and the memory of words. As the protagonist states ’’Words are stones that build your cultural knowledge’’ and ’’The world of sound is mediated by a depth of knowledge’’ - more than enough to know about this film to acknowledge it’s powerful subtext.

Excellently shot, this short has great cinematography that makes perfect use of every day and is accompanied by

profound music carefully composed. Moreover, the acoustic image is completed with a crisp sound (because in this case, it plays a very important role), making “An extraordinary place” an impressive achievement.

As the protagonist states, color has a connection with sound and taste. The association of color with feelings or objects is immersive, making you take a moment and acknowledge what he means. As well, black is the absence of color and somehow of sight, the visual part from this point of view easily resembled the incumbent or deep darkness of the night. Also, the choice of black and white colors is usually used for somber topics, however, in this case, it’s properly used for the nature of the subject, as well with the vivacity of the colorful inserts from the market that make the protagonist genuinely happy, taking him out of his monochromatic world.

Despite only running for almost thirteen minutes,

this highly successful short film coming from Valentina D'Annunzio accomplishes more in that short time than many entries in the documentary genre have with much a more generous duration. Is it secret? Applying the basic ethos of "keep it simple” across the board, a mantra echoing throughout all areas of the production .

 

The script is well structured offering a lot of knowledge and thoughts on different subjects. Its storytelling is purposefully subtle, yet it still materializes the right amount of subtext needed to fully comprehend our subject's situation. ’’Every time we believe we're seeing, but that's actually an illusion’’.

This short was elegantly crafted, always highlighting the most important parts of each fragment of the narrative. All this parallel editing

makes the universe of this short film more dynamic and it also makes viewers feel like they're told for the first time how a market or other common things are described. It aims to help the audience empathize and slowly enter

into the world of this interesting man like we want to hear more and more from, even if we’re very familiar with the world around us.

This screening has influenced and amplified the experience of describing the world around us, realizing that people shouldn’t take anything for granted and be happy for every little detail that makes it a whole.

“An extraordinary place” is a powerful and moving story that will mean so much to so many, a beautifully shot and crafted film, that slowly unfolds, using its way of storytelling from the perspective of a blind man. Every aspect of this project seems to play together like a brilliant orchestra, and again; simplicity is the key. Incredible and utterly moving.

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