Eye For Film >> Movies >> Braguino (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze
They live in the remote taiga of Eastern Siberia. Two families, the Braguines and the Kilines - the wives are sisters. The Braguines came there first (1975) in search of another way of life. One governed by autarky, balance with nature and dignity. Not poverty and crime and rapacity. When they kill a bear, they sing for its soul. It is a harsh life with hungry wild animals and far more dangerous, man-made perils waiting to ambush.
Every day the children from both families are deposited on an island in the river, where the bears can't reach them. There they play. There are dogs. The girls in shiny princess gowns, the boys go with what is practical and functional. Little Vassilissa wears the feet of the dead bear as if they were shoes, found in a fairy tale, contrasting her pale pink frock. She has the classic name, right out of Alexander Afanasyev's Vasilisa The Beautiful, and she is the bear and the princess all at once. Beauty and beast in alarming harmony.
How romantic is it really to be a wild child? Where do the words go without books on an island in the grey river? The neighbours are the most alien, the most Other. The Kilines invite the poachers who come in helicopters with guns and the foul language of the hateful. They deplete the taiga.
The Braguines say it's because of the "Wolf's blood" the Kilines and the invaders share. They shoot anything they see. Greed rules. The utopian idea that brought Sacha Braguine to have a family in this isolated place is now in danger from outside. Their world is turned upside down.
With indelible images born from an unflinching gaze, Clément Cogitore's Braguino lets us feel enraptured in an impossible community - cradled by archaic myth and awed by a sublime nature. And slowly, as in a nightmare, we get to understand that this is the story of humankind. The César nominated short is shot by his longtime cinematographer Sylvain Verdet (Neither Heaven Nor Earth, Les Indes Galantes, Among Us, Bielutin - Dans Le Jardin Du Temps, Visités, Chroniques).
A blond child is crying. A bear is a bear. A duck may not be a duck. The insatiable guns a parable of our own downfall. Along the Riverrun. The imagined perfection of a past that never existed in the first place. Cogitore invites questions to enter your head without coaxing. What if one of the boys wanted to put on a dress and ribbons in his hair? What if you don't want to eat the animal you cradled in your arms? Nostalgia may be strictly for the birds.
Braguino is a film, an installation (of videos and photographs originated at Le Bal in Paris) and a tale of a dream told by firelight. It is a blazing reminder of the highest order of what is at stake for civilisation everywhere.Reviewed on: 19 Feb 2019
Related Articles:Paradise lost