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A Singular Garden

A Singular Garden

Directed by Monica Klemz | Review by Nabadipa Talukder

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ringing in the essence of the history of a town and the quantity of its rich culture, which is then, weaved into celluloid using a collection of before and after pictures of the transformation of it, is a beautiful tell-tale, to begin with. Where we come from, our sole existence and evolution and how we tend to construct our surroundings have a lot to tell about the natives, the local inhabitants that currently reside in the city and the immigrants. Monica Klemz has thought through this whole process of integrating this into a film, more so bringing into it the complete soul of the town. The colossal heritage of Rio de Janeiro and its constant change in the city landscape, public spaces and the population expansion marks an era, whose nature is questionable. The city’s beauty, however, has left all spellbound. This film enhances and highlights how the city’s inhabitants have contributed to the conservation of its architecture, helping it evolve but keeping its patrimony alive.

“A Singular Garden” puts up the colonial images of the city, its ports, public spaces, the buildings and the ever-changing face of the town’s people. What is interesting is the point of view, which this film has been assembled. The picturesque and sublime interpretations through tilt-shift images and bird’s eye view that take you down to a walk-through to the city.

Before we begin enjoying the picturesque monuments, the architectural extravaganza, and roads of any town, we often ponder over its existence over time. The smell that an ancient town carries with itself can bring in a lot of memories for those who have lived here and this history is then passed down to the next generations through stories. The director Monica Klemz has made a successful attempt at bringing out this rich heritage through her film.

Being a seaside city, it hosts a large number of different cultures, all of whose influences can be seen through the buildings and roads. The direction has used a very interesting element through the use of background sound. The depiction of its slave history and hierarchy of the Portuguese rulers are amalgamated through pictures of the past rulers, the sounds of hammer clinking on metal and the slashing of whips on the bodies of slaves. A major part of the film is in filmed in monochrome which sets a classic mood for the audience. The music sets in a sense of melodrama and nostalgia.

With changing times and values, human beings lose their value of objects and spaces. They learn to mold themselves into spaces with lesser needs. A singular Garden tells the story of one such valuable space. The modes of communications have changed. Public places are now seen empty. What was once ladened with Old Portuguese houses has now high rise buildings standing there instead. This singular garden which once hosted large gala parties for eminent members of the town now stand stranded, messy, hopeless and forlorn. People now don’t socialize.

Globalization has led to warmer climates. People don’t stay out much. What was once a lively old garden, fluttering with the sounds of children playing and the distant flying birds is now left in ruins. The director’s nostalgia is clearly reflected in this film and leaves us with questions of our own existence. Our nostalgia will always be trapped in our memories. If not in them, then in pictures and paintings that will take us back in time.


Dr. Nabadipa Talukder is a doctor by profession with a passion for creative writing and has been into digital content writing for almost 5 years now. She practiced as a dental professional for two years in Kolkata before she quit her job in order to pursue a career in writing. Nabadipa was exposed to the freedom to write for various fronts which opened up her mind and introduced her to the world of screenplay and script writing. She wishes to travel and understand various cultures and wishes to write their stories.

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