The Unorthodox Series, Directed By Laura Barbato
Andre Breton, the theoretician and founder of surrealism school once said, “I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality, if one may so speak.”
In Breton’s surrealistic world, the two states of dream and reality were so mixed that at times it was impossible to distinguish them from each other. Many of the great artists who, along side with the changes of the world, applied their works in this form came to the similar conclusion: books and films whose atmosphere was constantly moving between the two states and the audience/ readers had to struggle to figure out the new language with the help of signs and symbols. Currently, having passed a century since the beginning of this movement, many works have been produced which have established their world based on the surrealism principles; the kind of works that understanding their adventures, happenings, the characters’ past and their worlds requires time and attention to the signs spread throughout the work.
The Unorthodox starts with details which can be the key to entering the story; details which are suitable for the plausibility of the environment and they can help create the atmosphere. Atmosphere is the basis of postmodern cinema and sometimes it is even more significant than the plot or the mere story. In this film, the filmmaker deliberately avoids giving any information about the characters and the story, intentionally tries to advance the story in the deeper layers and to ignore giving a direct address.
The film begins with the clinking sound of a cinematograph, indicating we are watching a film. We return to 1923 through some old photos. But why 1923? The film shows scenes from the Nazi army but we know that The World War II starts in 1939. Thus the film does not take place in a fixed period of time and there is an interval between incidents. We can guess that the person who enters the barbershop at the beginning of the film is the same Nazi member who, a few scenes later, gets angry because of the shaving foam left on his face, but how about the gap between 1923 and 1939? What does it mean to us? That the seeds of the war were planted years before the World War II?
The scenes skillfully and through a few elements are connected to each other. The barbershop scene through the open faucet gets connected to another one in the bathroom where there is a bathtub. Time and place are fractured. Some conversations in German can be heard. In a short scene we see a person wearing a gas mask; the water is pouring into the tub and it gives off steam (referring to the concentration camps where the Jews were taken to rooms under the pretext of getting washed, then the taps gave off poisonous gas). The film dexterously involves the historical conscience of human beings: mirrors, mirrors that break into pieces, mirrors on which we do not see our face, mirrors that are better to be broken. Rabbits in the painting speak German. Do the contemporaries inherit the catastrophe? Do they preserve all the dread that the history has undergone? The film shows that while all these horrifying references are made, we are busy entertaining ourselves. The film does not have a particular protagonist, but the person through whose eyes we see everything (in the form of POV pictures), is seated on a chair and a girl entertains him with her dance. It is better for the mirrors to be broken so that we can entertain each other without being able to see ourselves.
We see passing photos concentration camps, prisoner’s clothes, and the earth through a rapid montage. The film narrates its story in the most secretive manner via a complicated expression and a severely conservative and taciturn language; the story of a history, of bullet, blood, and bone; a monster from whose eyes we view the world, with whom we listen to the Jewish music, and from the telephone we hear the wailing scream of tortured people.
The Unorthodox is a brilliant work which achieves an outstanding outcome utilizing pictures, scattered signs, widespread details, and an important and effective montage; an outcome that can be placed in the line of surrealism which is an advantage for its director. This film proves that the language of the cinema in short movies can be very complicated and it can be enjoyed and re-watched simultaneously.
The visual language of the film highlights the filmmaker’s admirable skills. While showing the mental world of a rock star, Laura Barbato, the director of the film, takes a good advantage of the details of the scene to design the circumstances based on the mentality of its protagonist; a circumstance that describes the inner world of the protagonist and transfers its mood to us. The problem with many filmmakers who start with short films is their lack of mastery over the visual language, a language that can, regardless of long dialogues, describe and advance the story in the most succinct and complete manner.
The director of the film, Laura Barbato, is an artist who will have a brilliant future in making short films or TV series. She has mastery over the visual language and can keep the audience amused to the end of the film. A true talent in an otherwise oversaturated world of short films.