Thursday, November 12, 2020

Desire Path – review

Director: Marjorie Conrad

Release date: 2020

Contains spoilers

Some reviews write themselves but others… not so much. Definitely the case of the latter when watching a film described as “An experimental vampire film with haptic visuals, minimal dialogue, and characters defenceless against their own drives, for lovers of slow cinema.”

What I can say was it was absolutely lovely to look at, but is that enough?

Amy Deanna as Lana

It starts with Lana (Amy Deanna), as she moves, the camera blurs the background preventing us from seeing where she is for some time, until it becomes clear she is in a kitchen area. She curls up on the floor… We see her riding her bike and coming home. She is a courier. She brings the bike into the house and we notice that the soundtrack seems to be an ambient drone – matched by a record that is put on. We see her look at photos, lingering on one of Andrew (Andrew Banewicz).

Otto von Schirach as Otto

She leaves the building (a converted barn by the looks of it), going into the woods with a torch. Is the path she follows the desire path of the title, a path created by erosion caused by foot traffic? Or does the title refer to something more emotional? More internalised? Andrew arrives and tries to ring her but her cell phone is in the house and he leaves. She returns, running back to the house and climbs to the loft, looking out into the dark with her torch. We see Otto (Otto von Schirach), long-haired and blood round his mouth.

no reflection

We see the collision of these two, Otto and Lana; Andrew almost relegated to observer, helpless. We get moments where we see Otto bite her, where we see her vanished from a mirror, where she reacts to the sun when Andrew returns during the day – the gable of the barn opposite almost looking like a pyramid in the blinding light. We see feeding on Otto but there is little else in the way of story, the film is almost dialogue free and yet…

reacting to sunlight

Yet it is an arresting film. Amy Deanna has a strong presence, dominating the screen. The visuals are gorgeously constructed, the soundtrack pitched perfectly. Whilst the story could be at best said to be simple, at worst not really there, the film has a palpable soul that makes it worthwhile. However, how to score such a film? It is slow and many will find it a difficult, if not impossible, watch. It certainly is not the film to watch if you want any level of engaging narrative (though the film engages in its own way). It is an experimental film, it is an art film. This will go to love or hate, I think 7.5 out of 10 is fair for me, it may not be a fair score for you.

The imdb page is here. The film can be watched here or via the Amazon links below.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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