Bakulu Studio Composition
Directed by Vasco Diogo | Review by Moumita DebExperimental films are often much more likely to be misinterpreted than any other types of film, however, they are also open to individual interpretation, and therein lies their intrigue. Watching them with somebody else often results in very different ideas on what the film was about and what it is representing. Bakalu Studio Composition is no different and more breathlessly seems to have taken the medium of cinema to the next level.
Arguably an allegory about the power of change between life and death, Bakalu Studio Composition is perhaps Vasco Diogo’s most personal work. Structured in the complex but tasteful supplement relation between visual impoverishment and technical virtuosity, the film shows the stages crossed by the soul until its renaissance. The film constitutes an exploration of the stages of death and afterlife and most evidently is an intriguing experimental composition followed by a haunting soundtrack that penetrates through the hollow silence.
Though created on its original soundtrack, which presents prismatic impressions of life, the film’s hardly elusive screen actually works as a symbolic counterpart of that melancholic retrospective.
Diogo deliberately weakens the mainstream recourse of the cinema to tickle the viewers’ imagination in order to fulfill their neurotic and widely criticized necessity of unity and completeness. Though Bakalu lacks a plot, its success lies in its virtuous treatment of movement.
What might intrigue us most here is developing a sense of editing inside the frame as in a collage while listening to the musical result. Originally conceived as a loop single-channel video installation intended to confront the size of multiple human figures, this experimental audio-visual piece is dealing with the editing possibilities of chrome and synchronous sound. All sounds tracks belong to the same performer, a classical soprano singer. Luísa Brandao, the solo performer, miraculously appears and disappears in a multiplicity of bodies and identities that were assumed as singular entities that wouldn’t be possible to coexist in the same space, always in the black background.
Bakalu Studio Composition appears to be a hybrid form between video art, installation and experimental cinema, having already been shown in these different formats that influence the viewer’s reaction. The director and producer, Vasco Diogo, assumed all the technical roles including image, sound, editing and sound post-production.
There is a lot to be said about watching the same woman in a variety of stances. A piece of film of over five minutes that doesn’t lose the audience, but in fact holds their attention throughout is a rare gem!
The film’s purpose and message are of course open to interpretation, however seeing the female carrying out the variety of moves, facial expressions and stances brings to mind various emotions and aspects of our personality that fight for the top position.
Situations don’t always elicit only a single response, and the dominant response doesn’t always remain so. Here we see different movements and actions proceeding from the forefront to the background much as our emotions do. This is one interpretation, there are probably many more.
The sounds are a mixture and they seem to be an amalgamation of a variety of sounds and music which mirrors what is going on visually. The production is simple yet effective and it all results in an intriguing piece that will get you scratching your head.
By layering, churning and bruising the image, the director has created a moody piece that is completely original and which taps a completely different vein of a visual enigma. A sound bed of aggressive white noise is what nudges this into the realms of greatness.
Employing a range of simple techniques for innovative and expressive effect, this movie deals with dreams and doubles. It is unquestionably a film which exemplifies the director’s project of merging organic and mechanical forms to create transcendent visual beauty.
Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic. She holds a post- graduation degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels of a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling. She also takes a strong liking in playing the Spanish guitar & has participated in quite a few concerts. Moumita has done her certification course in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking.