From the sound of the sea to the flames

How to tell the story which will not fade into the spectator’s mind right after watching it? – Those authors definitely have an answer to this question: Vasco Saltão, Douwe Dijkstra and Geordy Couturiau – our critic has the impression that one of the stories tear our hearts apart and leave the spectators with fire. The films of the mentioned directors were presented during Lublin Film Festival in the competition titled Focus: Idea part 1.

The slot began with the film Nameless Heitor (2022), directed by Vasco Saltão from Portugal. It was exactly this picture that started a wave of emotions that rose with each subsequent title presented in this set. We start slowly, from the sound of the sea which delights with its majestic view, landing in the world which is completely remote to us because we teleport to the 16th century Portugal. Meeting our protagonist, we learn that he is condemned to endless sea guard awaiting the return of the king Sebastian. It is him who has to inform about king’s return through smoke signs. The problem appears when one day Heitor leaves the guard duty worried about sudden disappearance of his accompanying donkey. This crucial moment turns the whole story upside down, because then the story line blurs completely, bringing us to the contemporary world.

Nameless Heitor juggles the form and at the same time balances between comedy, drama and historical movie. It is not impressing from the outset, but it can surprise and confuse the spectator. Sometimes, the narrative is so layered that makes it difficult to follow. Due to the inconspicuousness and complexity the film engraves in spectators’ memory.

One Second in Small Francs directed by Douwe Dijkstra, similarly to Nameless Heitor, impresses with its form because isn’t it something remarkable to listen to the stories which are being told through money? The film tells a story about Swiss francs collector from each year, since the coin has been circulating. Through selected coins, it introduces the story of other people, country or symbol which is money. It is a reflective and entertaining movie, but also surprising.

The culmination of the film slot was a French film Lucienne in a World Without Solitude directed by Geordy Couturiau, showing dystopian vision of society in which every man has its own twin who in parallel with them experiences the same emotions, the same pain and has the same needs. Each piece of the puzzle has to be consistent, even if it is about love or the lack of it. It is not allowed or socially acceptable to separate from one’s brother or sister, that is why everything must go hand in hand. However, in case of our protagonist, dissonance occurs between her and her sisters’ feelings. At the beginning of the film comes to breakup between existing partners of the sisters. One Lucienne still loves Paul and Paul loves her, however, due to the fact that the other sister does not feel the same, their relationship comes to an end. One sister cannot have what the other does not have. Despite applicable rules, Lucienne cannot come to terms with the loss and she is still seeing Paul secretly. Unfortunately, consequences are bloodcurdling.

Lucienne in a World Without Solitude (pictured) is a great example of how stretching certain concepts pushes us to a completely new reflections. Is a world without loneliness a positive thing? What defines us as people? These and many other questions arise after watching this film. This is a story definitely for those who like emotions in movies, because the images presented in these films pass through sadness, fear and even disgust. This is one of those films that will leave an impression for a long time, because Lucienne’s story tears our hearts and leaves us with fire.

Kamil Janas

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