Intimacy and the Camera By Bodo Schoenfelder

in 22nd Troia FesTroia - International Film Festival

by Bodo Schönfelder

Matias Bize, the director of In the Bed (En La Cama), already proved his cinematographic courage some years ago, when his much acclaimed Sabado told the story of a young woman confronting her unfaithful bridegroom and her social surroundings in one 60 minute take. In his new film he compresses his filmic means again, but in a different way. He needs only two actors, a room in a motel and a bed for twenty for hours to make his point. A young woman and a young man, who obviously have met at a party, but don’t know anything of each other, just have plain sex together, seen only in some fuzzy shots, which disclose nothing. Afterwards they start talking about things that really don’t matter, similar to the usual party small talk. In the course of the film they let out some personal information and statements, but in a way that doesn’t open up their personal substances to each other. They invent public appearances, which change, package truth as lies, seek shelter behind verbal amours, despite their bodily nudeness. Only the forced intimacy in a small room leads to a gradual opening up and getting in getting contact in the true sense, including playfulness and sensuality. The movements of the actors and the editing highlight sudden movements, which look like outbursts of aggressive drives and frustrations out of a naked body, which functions like a closed case against the pressures of the outside world. Coming nearer to their personal worlds and to each other, they still have to reflect in order to come to terms with the difficult reality. It’s not simply true feelings against reality, but seeking an always precarious balance, in which losses are always a part. The end, when they caress each other, is neither a positive conclusion nor an open ending. It’s just a moment, but decisions are always made.

On the level of pictorial richness, the images seem poor, but the reductions to faces, glances and body parts fold up a big open world of mental (imaginary) pictures, flowing out of the movements and words. Naturalistic images would hamper the activity of the viewer only. Less is more. It is, as if the film maker tries to attempt to shrink the film towards one point, at which it can reach out to the world.