The twins were supposed to be in attendance, but since the film is shown in Toronto at the same time, they prefered Canada... Amira Casare, who plays Malvina the Opera singer in the film, was there to replace them. The film is produced by Terry Gilliam with British, French and German funds.
Based on Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares' "The Invention of Morel". On a strange island inspired by XVIIIth century aesthetics, Dr. Droz , a mad scientist who pursues the dreaded quest to immortilize the perfect moment, the perfect sound with curious automatons. A baroque conglomerate of various myths from Pygmalion to Frankenstein, in a Raoul Ruiz-like psychanalitic re-enactment. All the story seems to be inspired by the Opera allegory of a naturalist factoid: This ant living in the forest of Cameroon is parasited by a microscopic fungus damaging it's nerveous system, leading the disordered insect to climb high up on a stem and die hanging out up there. The fungus grows a spike through the ant skull and ejaculates a spray of spores to parasite more ants down bellow.
I'm not sure yet if I prefer it to Institute Benjamenta (long time since I saw that one), I'd say this one is as loose and as experimental. Getting into the film is rather difficult, the first hour seems to struggle aimlessly. The lighting quality, often too dark to see, is uneven throughout, from glimpses of marvel (like in their short films), to dull pitch black.
The issue is once again a flawed acting direction, maybe too neutral, uninvolved in the peculiar universe of the fiction. Although it might be a conscious deliberate decision, I can't really pin down the essence of the mood they develop. But the visual proposition, free of any known conventions makes a worthwile trip, despite the long stretches and weak plot-descriptive dialogue. One character actually says it out loud "you'll get used to the confusion"
The last reel is extraordinary. The dream sequences are especially experimental, with reverse footage, stopmotion animation and a multilayered soundtrack.
(s) + (w) ++ (m) ++ (i) +++ (c) ++