Found footage is collaged into the suggestion of an oppressive state being resisted in this absorbing, disturbing film
Dalibor Baric is a Croatian artist and film-maker, who after many experimental gallery shorts is making a feature debut with this deeply weird quasi-noir animated reverie, which he writes, directs, animates, edits and for which he composes the music (really the sound design is the only substantial component that he hasn’t personally authored). Baric brings together found objects – or rather found images, clips of old movies and TV – which are collaged together in various digitally transformed shapes over which a murmuring series of voiceovers which narrate (that is, surround with further ambient anxiety) this general situation: an oppressive state is being resisted, or at least resented, or possibly just noticed, by various sentient beings.
That’s about as far as my summary can go. In many ways, this is a deadpan futurist manifesto: a jumble of sounds and images shown against droll maxims. “The future is an abandoned construction site, cancelled due to lack of funds …”; “Dreams always start from the middle and are incomplete …” and my favourite: “People used to believe that the Earth was a gramophone, now it’s only the third song on the record.” There are references to Ursula K Le Guin (a book cover, out of the blue) and Ray Bradbury, and also Cronenberg (some stylings borrowed from Crash) and Tarkovsky. Simply absorbing and unpacking this dense collage of images and moods is a challenge, but there is something impressive in the film’s indifference to narrative meaning or ordinary legibility. It doesn’t have to mean anything, and if that sounds insufferable, it really isn’t: it is distinctly disturbing and even absorbing.