Film: The Seen and Unseen
Director: Kamila Andini
At: Elgin Winter Garden Theatre
Dinner: Green Apple Yogurt drink w/Popcorn Chicken @Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (and subsequently got sick. do not recommend)
Waiting in Line Book: The Mortifications by Derek Palacion
Basic Summary (from TIFF): A 10-year-old girl retreats to a fantastical, evocative dream space to deal with the impending loss of her twin brother.
After Movie Thoughts (possible spoilers, obv.)
This is the movie you go to see for the breathtaking imagery, the deeply embedded symbolism, and the contemplative emotions that have been expertly weaved into the fabric of this film.
The Seen and Unseen features many scenes, but a few things come to mind: the egg. the moon. the chicken. the monkey.
The two main characters in this movie are the twins: Tantri (the girl), Tantra (the boy), and their mother and father. The first symbolic item, the egg, makes an appearance often: it's an egg that Tantri shares with her brother, giving him the yolk, and even after the brother gets sick, she prefers the egg white and rejects the egg yolk. This can be interpreted as Tantri refusing to accept a reality where she is forced to confront the fact that her brother is no longer by her side. The first day that the brother is admitted to the hospital, there is purposeful zoom in on Tantri who is peeking from behind the hospital doors with an uncooked egg in her hand, which she then proceeds to break in her hand and the liquid innards slowly drip out.
Next is the moon, which is a main element when Tantri escapes to the dreamscape. Many interactions take place in a conversation with the moon, and also mysterious children in white who I presume to be some sort of dream fairies. One of the most prominent scenes in the movie include a dance that Tantri does as a direct mesaage to the moon, to the point where the shot isolates everything else except for Tantri and the moon.
Finally, the two animals: the chicken and the monkey. In both instances, they are a result of Tantri seeing them in her environment and emulating them in the form of elaborate costumes for both her brother and herself. The chicken choreography that they do while in thehospital room, while completely silent save for the sounds, speaks so much in regards to how the two are processing what is happening. They present feelings of being hesitant, but defensive. They attack, but also cower. It's not a fight, but it's definitely a tense conversation through movement. The same can be said for the monkey. Same elaborate costumes, but different interpretive dance choreography. The feeling is much more strong, and this time they both incorporate screeching along with their dance. Again, it's a sort of conversation that they are having that's completely non-verbal, but it makes an impression for sure.
As we near the end of the movie, we find out that the inevitable has happened and the brother has passed away. The scene that stands out to me is of the mother secretly crying in the kitchen while preparing dinner while Tantri is outside and peeking through the window blinds.
When I come to TIFF, these are the kinds of films that I expect. While some may argue that it comes off as boring or "too much thinking" for them, I quite enjoy films like these. I emjoy trying to interpret what is going on, and while my thoughts may be way off, it still reinforces the fact that I came out of the movie with many thoughts that I would not previously had before.
All in all, I thought the actors and actresses did a fantastic job and I feel so lucky that I was able to be a part of the Q&A session afterwards. It was informative to what the thought process was like when filming certain sequences, and how each character required a certain amount of training to be executed properly.