Review by Panchali Kar
A film by writer/director Duda Groter
The visual ballad, Fantaisie Impromptu, traverses through the intricate crest and trough of human emotions: despair, longing, desire, exhaustion, and loneliness. Groter roughly sketches the protagonist, Laura, a piano teacher, and places her in the midst of the turmoil. We do not know much about her past, her present, and her future, and none of it is important from the film’s perspective. The film does not hover for a closure; it addresses the delicate emotional attributes, which are very humane, however are often ignored in the hustle-bustle of life.
We get to know that Laura shares a disturbed relationship with her partner. The lack of intimacy is predominantly designed in the character establishment of the couple. Loved the finer detail where Laura proceeds to hold her partner’s hand hesitantly, during the piano concert, however holds herself back. In the midst of her unfulfilled life comes Arthur, a young piano student who is an extremely talented musician. There begins the episode of personal longing which has been very subtly and skillfully addressed in the film.
The main point of attraction of the film is in its subtlety, which has been maintained till the end. There has not been a single eventful or impactful incident in the duration of twenty minutes, yet it keeps the audience glued with anticipation: what’s next? It makes the spectator, think, question, divulge, build up expectations, and break them as the story proceeds; a thoroughly engaging movie experience.
Fantaisie Impromptu excels in both aesthetic as well as technical department. Each and every frame is a beautiful portraiture in its own. The mise-en-scene perfectly depicts the gloominess that Laura puts up with. The props have been very carefully selected. Brilliant use of low key light arrangement, half light, bokeh, and kicker light, adding a dimension to the situation establishment throughout the film. The sound arrangement deserves a special mention. The life of Laura revolves around the tune of piano, so is the film. Lovely pieces played by the musicians on various instances. The absence of too many musical instruments is noteworthy. Ambiance sound is the second most important sound element in the film. If there is no piano being played, it is the ambiance sound that’s adding a depth of the visual poetry. Very few dialogues are present here and there, to establish the situations. The lack of verbal communication emphasizes on Laura’s loneliness and lack of company.
A very important visual parameter reappears on and on: a person, apparently a woman, swimming. The movie begins with the swimmer plunging into the water. The instances of swimming connect the various minuscule of the main plot. The significance of the swimmer is again left to the interpretation of the audience. It might be the unrest in the mind of Laura, it might be the waves of time and situations. Fantaisie Impromptu – A Prologue is one of its kind; a beautiful and aesthetic visual experience, that I would recommend to the cinephiles to watch and introspect.
Panchali Kar is a Dancer, Choreographer, Actor and Filmmaker. In addition, Panchali is a devout advocate for egalitarian social change, is affiliated with the NGO, Responsible Charity and currently working on a photo documentary on LGBT rights. She is an avid scholar and veteran of the performing arts and a seasoned instructor. Panchali maintains several degrees in the Arts including a M.Mus degree. Ms. Kar is also affiliated with AKTO, a Kolkata theater group based in the city in which she resides.