Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Loneliest Planet. (2012) Julia Loktev

She Walks Alone With Me for A&F Nominations.

One decision in one split second can change everything.

But sometimes the decision comes from raw instinct and not even from the heart or head. It's not decisive, necessarily, but any movement made will be the decision. That movement is the impulse for survival, the act of protecting one's self -- a motion to protect self when confronted with something fearful.

Sometimes in the instinctual act to save yourself, you end up hurting someone else in the process. 

And sometimes, two people who have been through trauma together want to heal, move forward, and walk down a road together as companions -- but all they can do is walk together in loneliness. The healing takes time (and even effort, from both); deadened desire must first be re-birthed in the heart.

The Loneliest Planet is a film about two such people, Alex and Nica, engaged to be married and backpacking around a terrain somewhere in Eastern Europe. It's about the way their response to events changes the very nature of their relationship -- how they relate to each other, how they respond to each other, and later, how they don't relate, how they don't respond. 

It's also about the choices we make later on. The silly things we allow when we've already been through the hardest part. The final fifteen minutes of this film are the hardest to watch, as we see Nica, reemerging from the trauma she's been through with her beloved and reaching out to another to regain composure. You might think to yourself, "Get it together, Nica. Alex loves you." But no one can understand the path of a heart that's been through such trauma -- and disappointment. 

This is a very slow film that rather plods along for close to an hour, and you might wish that something would simply happen. And then it does. It happens. And it changes everything about how you're watching the film. You begin to see these characters very differently, and you hope for them in a very different way. And then suddenly, the story comes to an end, and you find yourself wanting to back up and watch again.

This is a beautiful film about beautiful people who relate, and then want to relate, but cannot.

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