Written & Directed by: #JennieFeyen
Short Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
In Australian filmmaker Jennie Feyen’s latest cinematic work of art The Light of the Star We Are Seeing Right Now, an ageing astronomer faced with the looming presence of her own mortality begins to reminisce and fantasise about her life’s work studying the awe-inspiring wonders of the universe and what might possibly await her beyond the cosmos.
Feyen’s latest award-winning work (most recently picking up the 2020 Innovation in Moving Image and Installation Art Award as the WA Screen Culture Awards to add to Feyen’s many other well-deserved accolades) is a lean and subtle piece to be sure, narratively uncomplicated and making minimal fuss as far as on-screen action is concerned. For most of the film’s nearly three-minute runtime, we see our astronomer (Billingham) as she drifts back and forth between the present and her fond memories of years spent studying the stars, mostly leafing through books and gazing longingly at the night sky above her.
But as simple and unassuming as its plot may seem, by no means is that to its detriment. In fact, like all great art, The Light of the Star We Are Seeing Right Now is not so much about what you see, but rather what you feel.
And Feyen’s talent as an artist is undeniable, film her canvas of choice and is assuredly adept at painting all kinds of vibrant colours with it. And as mentioned, Feyen doesn’t aim to allow us to simply watch her work, but actually let it take you over, The Light of the Star We Are Seeing Right Now not just trying to simply tell a story, but fully convey a feeling, a palpable weight of emotion that somehow seeps into your very being, filling you with a sense of something unexplainable yet undeniably real, not an easy feat to pull off and would have perhaps not been fully realised had there been a more complex narrative.
From a filmmaking standpoint, it’s pretty much ticks every box. Yes, it’s story may be simple, but it’s one that is also concise and well-told, the film itself running at just about the right length before bowing out and culminating in a wonderful piece of symbolism for the film’s finale. The entrancing score mixed with beautifully interlaced imagery of the cosmos creates such a brilliant sense of wonder that completely washes over and consumes you, allowing us to connect with and fully appreciate Billingham’s permeating sense of awe she deftly manages to put across with a very fine performance.
With The Light of the Star We Are Seeing Right Now, Feyen has delivered yet another fine example of her uncanny ability to not just fully realise a complete story in a unique way, but also create an overwhelming sense of emotion without having to use a single word.