Directed by: Ran Slavin
Written by: Ran Slavin
Cast: Mami Shimazaki, Yehezkel Lazarov and Yuval Robicheck
Movies that place visual and ambiguous storytelling over telling a regular narrative are popular among the indie circuit, as they can be a good and interesting showcase for ambition and thematic material that an unchecked and eager director can provide. They can also be a poor showcase for ineptitude and pretension with the feel being that of someone who desperately wants to come across as artistic. Director Ran Slavin’s Call For Dreams falls somewhere in the middle.
It is hard to describe the story of this film, but the best that can be summarised is that a woman in Tokyo named Eko (Mami Shimazaki) services people whilst an Israeli detective named Ruven (Yehezkel Lazaraov) investigates a situation. Instead the narrative is more of an excuse for random visuals. With that comes Call For Dreams’s greatest strength, but also it’s greatest weakness. As a visual experience, it succeeds because there is a lot of atmosphere and the imagery on display can be creative and entrancing. Certain scenes also deal with the nature of performance vs reality and these moments are very well handled, but they are also the only scenes that feel like they draw you in enough to analyse them.
In general, all these visuals and interesting ideas are in favour of a non-existent at worst and bland at best story. There is no major developed protagonist or even character to latch on to and no narrative hook beyond just wondering what the story is supposed to be about thematically. As a result of this, the film is rather aimless and even uninvesting. It is never fully boring because of it’s random nature and aforementioned atmosphere, but it does fail at having a compelling narrative, with only the finale being genuinely interesting.
The low budget also does not get in the way, as the cinematography and general look is decent, but there is one sequence in the middle that utilises awful visual effects. This sequence sticks out like a sore thumb and it is surprising that it was left in despite looking terrible. The sound design is also a plus, adding to the atmosphere by having a strong and alluring presence.
It is hard to say much about Call For Dreams because it is more of an experience than a movie. It does succeed at being an intriguing slice of weirdness, but it is hard to recommend because there is not much to it beyond that. It might have you talking about it afterwards, but it cannot guarantee it will be a worthwhile experience on it’s own.