Thursday, 15 September 2016

REVIEW - THE ORCHID SELLER (LORENZO VIGAS)


Documentary not merely as document, but as observation. Lorenzo Vigas analyzes reality in pursuit of truths forgotten and concealed, an intimate, family film that reaches places more intimate than its subjects might ever have imagined. As with the painting that provides The Orchid Seller with its title, Vigas' film recounts a solemn, desperate search for a past long since lost, and bittersweet memories, as dolorous to recall as to relinquish. Like the art produced by his father, Oswaldo Vigas, now deceased, Vigas' portrait of his quest to reclaim a part of his past is ragged and unconcerned with conventional standards of aesthetic beauty. It expresses an emotional beauty in its openness and innate incisiveness. It's a work of natural genius rather than technical prowess, inspiring thought and feeling rather than intellectual contemplation. And as easy as it might be to dismiss The Orchid Seller as simply a basic account of a true-life story, it's evidently Vigas' presentation of that story that informs its character, reconfigures it with the addition of artistic agency. Astute editing and an unerring dedication to honesty mould it into a story with genuine profundity and enduring impact. What inferences you may draw from this presentation are virtually irrelevant to the scale of said impact - the loss is deeply felt both by subject and by viewer, regardless of what particular character it may assume. For Oswaldo, this loss only thrives as time passes, and The Orchid Seller again proves an uncanny match in effect to its own content, acquiring ever more poignancy over time, both through and beyond its running time. Bittersweet memories indeed.