Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Martin asks us, very early, "Have you ever wondered what it is like to wear a lead helmet on your head?" He answers for us, "probably not". It's a geodesic spheroid, all burnished triangles, a sharp horizontal slit for vision, a shorter cut for his mouth. He sits on the bus.

Martin is a jeweler, specialising in recycling - with the aid of a mysterious process involving lightning, however, he has created a new kind of gem. Shot on film, but not "for fun", it's got a delightfully vintage feel. Martin cannot abide to be near electronic devices - indeed, his home is on an isolated hill, in an isolated wood - he patrols it, listening - his electrosensitivity might be the result of an accident rather than a mutant power, but it is no less distressing to him. So sometimes he comes down to town and sells his jewelery, and sometimes his family come to visit him, but mostly there are the woods and the intricate processes of constructing his gems.

Copy picture

There's a studied note of artificiality, an awareness that this is a film - an early discussion of foley effects, an admission that a lightning bolt in an important reconstruction is "painted on". The credits are a treat too, shedding further light on Martin's strange existence on his electromagnetic Elba.

Peter Shalat's animation is well done, Laco Janostak's photography manages to use the timeless quality of film-stock to place us in a kind of stock-footage Slovakia. Jana Minarikova directed and her script gives us the public address system of a mountain village, the 'daily news' that there will be a jeweler selling from the lay-by beside the school. Best individual credit, however, goes to Dusan Bustin, who puts Robert Rodriguez to shame with a listing as "Dramaturgist, Stuntman, Driver".

The film has a magnetic quality - it is allegedly based on a true story, but its whimsy and execution put it in the realms of 'man in the pub' and 'shaggy dog'. It's worth catching if only for the visions of Martin's domestic routine - after all, there's no place like ohm.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2012
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An alchemist draws on the power of lightning to create splendid jewels.

Director: Jana Minarikova

Writer: Jana Minarikova

Year: 2011

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: Slovakia


EIFF 2012

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