Director: Kristina Buozyte, Bruno Samper
Writer: Kristina Buozyte, Brian Clark, Bruno Samper
Cast: Raffiella Chapman, Eddie Marsan, Rosy McEwen, Richard Brake, Edmund Dehn
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 29.9.2022
Humanity is on the brink of extinction. The rich people have fled into citadels, the poor are scraping by on barely enough food raised from proprietary seeds that don’t propagate. Vesper (Raffiella Chapman) lives alone with her father Darius (Richard Brake). Darius has suffered severe injuries in war and is now bed-bound, though his consciousness can accompany Vesper with the help of a biomechanical drone connected to his brain. When Vesper stumbles upon a young woman (Rosy McEwen), obviously from a close citadel who crashed in the woods, she takes her home, to the consternation of Darius. But there is a lot of interest in Camellia, the young woman, no least from Vesper’s estranged uncle Jonas (Eddie Marsan). Camellia might be Vesper’s ticket out of poverty. And maybe she’s even more than that.
I went into this film with high expectations indeed because I really loved Aurora, Buozyte’s last film. I’m happy to report that this follow-up (10 years later!) (the films don’t have anything to do with each other) could keep up with the first one. It Is a really beautiful film.
Much like with Aurora (and this is the last time I will mention it, promise), Aurora gives us some really stunning images. It’s the machines, but more than that, it’s the plants in their fantastic aliveness. But it’s also the costumes (like from the pilgrims, or what Camellia wears in particular). Despite the fact that there isn’t actually a whole lot of color, the film looks absolutely great.
What I also really enjoyed was the way technology is portrayed here. Basically everything is biotechnology, the borders between nature and technology blurring in a very exciting way (in that regard, it reminded me a little of Zahrah the Windseeker). The fact that proprietary, non-propagating seeds are already a depressing reality notwithstanding.
I really liked Vesper herself, and the rapport she builds with Camellia that is somewhere between mother-daughter and queer. What I liked a little less was the character ark for Camellia. Without spoiling too much, I didn’t like that her free decision was to give herself up.
The plot of the film is probably its weakest part in the sense that it was a little predictable and not very innovative (compared to the world it takes place in). But that didn’t mean that I wasn’t completely invested, because I most definitely was. And the ending was wonderful as well, a fine conclusion to a very fine film.