Directed by Dylan Nanayakkara
Short Film Review by Amaliah S. Marmon-Halm
Gentle, yet upbeat jazz. The rally cry of the Gran Transnational Fire Brigade from 1889 is displayed on a black screen. Each exclamation point in the extract seems to allude to the sense of urgency that the film, Belevedere (aka The Timely Demise of the Bourgeois: A Visual Poem) is trying put across. A man describes the beauty of a faraway island. All these aspects set the scene for what could be an incredibly meaningful piece of film.
Contrasting black and white scenes and a gentle piano track guide the viewer through a journey of comparisons. Shots of nature and technology, animals, people worshiping – whether it be a deity or technology, mass cities and tranquil landscapes. There seems to be a want to focus on the relationships between what we hold of highest importance.
Waste and decay, to people having fun, drinking, dancing, the high life and downtrodden and entwined together.
Production-wise, it seems to be a little on the basic side. Some shots seeming to lack focus and shake to the point that it tends to distract from the beauty of the content. Considering this is a visual poem, you would expect there to be more care and attention in the cinematography, to avoid any mistakes which could cause distractions for the viewer.
The piano piece that plays throughout the film is ‘Una Mattina’ by Ludovico Einaudi, and is one of the few aspects that cannot be faulted. It is a beautifully tranquil piece and does well to elevate Belvedere as a film, especially during the slightly more distressing scenes of poverty and destruction.
The film simply ends with a message –
‘for those affected by the mass flooding of 2016, residing in the Ambatalle district still clawing to recover their lives’.
A simple statement with such a heavy meaning. Disasters occur all the time and it is always important to remember the hardships that people face.
At its core, this a film with wonderful, thought-provoking content but unfortunately it suffers from what a film, especially a short film, should never be – it was just a tad boring. Not enough occurred to grip or emotionally tie the audience, apart from a short message at the end. As this was heavily relying on visuals to tell the story, it feels like the idea, the intent is there but the execution needs to be reworked. As with everything, there is room for improvement.