In Between Dying

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

In Between Dying
""Patience is the greatest gift on the path to perfection," we're told and, truth be known, you're going to need plenty of it when it comes to the plot." | Photo: Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

Strong control of mood can take you a long way with a film - and Azerbaijani director Hilal Baydarov knows what he's doing in that regard. In Between Dying - which screened in Competition at Venice last week - is infused with longing right from the start. Davud (Orkhan Iskandarli) is heard in voiceover talking about his unceasing search for woman who will be the love of his life, while a woman talks about refusing to move in order that her one true love can find her.

This is the first of several poetic exchanges that punctuate the film and break up the action, which sees Davud embark on an odyssey of sorts, encountering a series of women in peril - and a lot of death - along the way. There's a balance at play in the juxtaposed viewpoints, with mirrored ideas used throughout the film, so that the woman's words oppose Davud's but then go on to be reflected in the next encounter he has.

"Patience is the greatest gift on the path to perfection," we're told and, truth be known, you're going to need plenty of it when it comes to the plot. Davud's encounters seem allegorical at first - a sort of limbo of trials that take on a circular formation - but Baydarov seems reluctant to give much shape to the story. Davud meets women - often taking them on his motorbike with him - all the while, on the run from a group of men, who pop up like a chorus from time to time to observe the death Davud leaves in his wake and offer an element of offbeat humour.

Co-produced by Carlos Reygadas, it seems Baydarov shares a love of Andrei Tarkovsky with the Mexican director, who along with Reygadas himself, is clearly an influence here. From encounters in a foggy meadow to autumnal woodlands, the imagery is compelling even if the story ultimately delivers considerably less than it promises.

Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2020
Share this with others on...
In Between Dying packshot
A man goes on a journey of discovery sparked by a series of accidents.

Festivals:

Venice 2020

Search database: