CANNES DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT 2012: FOGO (Yulene Olaizola)

for desistfilm: Wiwat “Filmsick” Lertwiwatwongsa

A grey path leads to nothing but a tilted, half-collapsed house on waste ground. Everything is grey and cold. Police arrive, advising the residents to leave by the last ferry, but there’s no answer from within.

Inside the house are Norm and Joe, drinking beer and singing some sad song about a man who cannot separate with the land. Things turn colder more desperate, as the river gradually freezes over.

Norm meets Ron, who has also decided not to leave, and his two dogs. They go through the woods, across a frosty meadow, to a tree with no leaves stretched silence into uncolored sky. They cut down the tree, eventually standing still in the snow, sharing their memories as the indifferent landscape surrounds them.

This is the film in total. We don’t know what is happening, why they have to leave the island, where they are going, or even where this place is. What we know is the landscape, and the feeling, feeling of separation and dying. It’s like we viewing the action through a half-closed door, viewing the dead and the sad beauty of people seeing the things they love dying while they are powerless to help.

In reality, Fogo is the name of an island off the coast of Canada, and the film deals obliquely with the government’s forced resettlement of Fogo’s residents during the 60’s. It’s a film about leaving, about the death of a community, and about nostalgia.

The silence is a major thing in the film. Most of the time we see nothing but fields, grey sky, and snow. We’re seeing through the eyes of the residents, as they stare at the fields silently. They talk but we don’t hear. We have only vision. We see the sadness and sorrow condensed in the very air they breathe.

Director: Yulene Olaizola
Producer: Yulene Olaizola ,Rubén Imaz
Screenwriter: Yulene Olaizola
Cinematographer: Diego Garcia
Cast: Norman Foley ,Ron Broders , Joseph Dwyer
Canada, Mexico
97 mins
2012

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