Friday, 5 August 2016

REVIEW - EMBERS (CLAIRE CARRE)


A treatise on time and memory, abstract and opaque, mulling over what defines our identities as the people we know ourselves to be. What happens when we no longer know ourselves, nor each other, to be anything at all? Embers is a collage of fascinating ideas on a grander idea, its confusion and its ephemerality enhancing the crucial sense that this grander idea is itself unknown to the human race. What we can salvage from this essential lack of knowledge, a ceaseless salvage operation in our insatiable search for understanding, forms the foundation of identity. Drifting and destroying, the figures of Claire Carre's debut feature may be our surrogates, set in the future, or they may be our very future, realized in the present. A permanent reset to the human mind, rendering our memories void after a day, perhaps hours, perhaps even minutes or seconds. Only sense and feeling, both frequently false, to guide us, and to shape some semblance of an interpretation of identity, nothing more. As intriguing a project as Embers is, no artistic project can fully exist in theory - it requires realization, and it is thus that Embers falters. Carre's design is prosaic, and she makes little use of the tools of her artistic medium: the blocking, the editing, the production and costume designs, the musical score - all only serviceable, mere decoration for the thematic thrust. That's forgivable, but set against such inspired ideas, one can't help but observe the disparity between the quality of concept and that of execution. Embers fails itself, but transparently enough that it maintains intact those qualities that it is so careless to fail at all. My hopes are high for Claire Carre's next film - may she learn a few lessons, and truly pay tribute to her talent.