Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

There is a shape on the horizon. A lenticular cloud on a mountain top, mist around a structure. That isn't a horizon - it is in front of us, but it is a mystery. It draws us, intrigues.

Perhaps she is called Lin. She tells Carol her name is Chris, Christine. She arrives in a post-Soviet somewhere, on a barge. Every landscape is mediated by concrete, it seems, the chuff of traffic or stuttering pylons. Ballardian, perhaps, certainly in execution - here is something played absolutely straight. You could hear a pin drop. Perhaps it is a pin dropping. The pin is significant. Not the pin. The necklace, the ring, the ring on the necklace. They are the steps in an allegorical reconstruction of a contemporary myth-cycle; the removal of the shoes; the gift of jewelry; the village, the sea. This is not obvious at first. It builds and grows and draws. It hypnotises. The barge arrives at a coal-port, a noisequake - at customs she says she is 'just travelling through'. There is a truck stop, and there she meets Carol. He gives her a lift, but there is miscommunication.

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There is triumphal architecture, a circle in the sand, a Grimm journey into the forest. Details emerge, but we have no context. Her face painted black she tells some more of her story. Around a fire, creatures, shako-headed dancers, that thin tan coat. At the end of her street she got on a bus, just kept walking. There were children, two boys fighting, a paperweight got stuck behind some teeth. This is a triumph.

Lin Clifton carries the film. She is haunted, haunting. Piers Thompson wrote and directed, and Alexandr Krumov shot it, and Doug Haywood designed the impeccable sound, and Alva Noto (aka Carsten Nicolai) made some of the music, there is the credit sequence and the stark typographic rows of the end credit and they are all nigh perfect, but Lin is nothing without Lin.

The trucks roll by, the truck-stops, the cabin with the postcards on the panel above the window, lots of things are said but little is understood. Valeri Kyorlinski is good, the rest of the supporting cast too, but Lin, ever Lin.

Sitting with a cup of coffee while the drunks stare at her, that everywhere Eurotechno in the background. There is a burning building. There are lots of things. A squarish concrete structure on a floodplain, a heroic statue, army surplus, outsourced transportation, urination, masturbation. The structure. It has a wooden roof; a mist-shrouded ceremonial anyspace, it squats on a Hoth-like hillside. Above its doors is written something important. The stairs lead from it to nothingness. Is it Nirvana? Olympus? Was it summoned into being by ritually sacrificing a helicopter? It doesn't matter. To us, to her. It might be real, it might not be real, it might matter, it might not matter. There is one shot that might not belong, seen again. It gives the impression that there might be an answer, when the film would be stronger without. It spends so long walking the edge, dances that razor so well, it is a mis-step. Not jarring, more confounding in the wrong way.

That said, it is really, very, absolutely good. The one thing that is wrong with it is that it doesn't quite hold its nerve, drifts a bit too close to an answer. Thompson is apparently working on a feature. Look for it, Thamesland. The sound, music, locations, camera-work, the altogether, brilliant. Lin Clifton, flawless, is the film, carries it, walking with her. "[She's] not going to stop." Nor should you until you see it.

Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2011
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A mysterious woman arrives at dawn in an unknown country, fleeing some terrible secret in her past.
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Director: Piers Thompson

Writer: Piers Thompson

Starring: Lin Clifton, Alexandar Lubenov Iliev, Vesela Kazakova, Valeri Kyorlinski

Year: 2010

Runtime: 25 minutes

Country: UK


Glasgow 2011

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