A MOOR – (or a “room” inverted) synthesizes the multiple meanings of securing, uncultivated land, and an ethnic population in its portraits of Caucasian sex tourists who blur into one another through the POV of an unheard and unseen Asian escort. The dynamics of power and race revealed through the clients’ speech and not allowing the Asian character that forms the core of the film to be seen or heard. The two songs at the beginning and end of the film are settings of Yosano Akiko’s tankas, a great feminist poet who preceded Modernism in the West but remains unknown because she did not publish in the West.
This exploration of power and vulnerability is intricably linked to the form of A MOOR. The director, as the POV, is rendered as naked and vulnerable as the actors. In a reversal of conventional actor-director relationships, the director has to touch and be touched instead of observing at a distance; and the actors control the duration and his view through their actions, instead of his view controlling them.
Like its excluded stories and characters, the film inhabits a No Man’s Land between Hollywood and Art House tropes; straddling the nether boundary between narrative and experimental – a No Man’s Land with no heroes, no resolutions, no romanticized sentiments. Man and metaphor intermingle through the naming and speech of the characters.
A MOOR forms the first part of CONTENTUS, an experimental triptych that bookends STILLE STADT, taking its cue from the contrasting meanings of the word – content (French, Italian), to strain with exertion (Latin), to contain/hold together (Latin). It is an allegory of connectedness and isolation in contemporary society, and the collective blindness to our actions and consequences. Shot in long unbroken takes using only available light, the films comprising CONTENTUS eschews the contemporary propensity of coverage over character, style over substance, and construction of protagonists
CONTENTUS builds upon ideas on a cinema of attention (vs distraction) by eschewing the conventions of narrative grammar, rejecting the “wasted” shots in contemporary cinematography (redundant close ups, coverage angles, etc.) and utilizing music as a thematic counterpoint (vs. mood or editing device), it infuses cinema with Brechtian influences – in use of allegory, and where form itself is made conscious and interrogated (itself a metaphor for awakening the consciousness of people).
RUNNING TIME: 42:54 | COMPLETED: 02/15 | WRITER/DIRECTOR: STEPHEN CHEN
CAST: BRENDAN O’ GORMAN, ANDREW BEE, JEFFREY LEONARD, PETER MAZZUCCO | DISTRIBUTOR: