Aug 17, 2023
Most people fear the prospect of solitude, so it’s a doughty soul that not only faces loneliness but confronts the feeling in a desolate and hostile environment. Imagine the additional burden of an apparently simple challenge that seems to get further away the closer he gets to it. This is the mission before ‘The Man’ played by Fin Gardner. The Man finds himself in a forest with the task of retrieving a rucksack lodged high in a tree.
Increasingly inclement weather makes his task even more difficult; but help is close at hand as a mystery force leaves tools to aid his quest. A swing provides rope to help him reach his goal. Other items appear that offer comfort, warmth and solace; but is it really what he needs or even wants. Voices seemingly whisper; they goad, cajole and encourage him. Is he being watched or monitored; is their presence merely a figment of his imagination. Is his loneliness creating voices in his head? The events depicted appear to be physical, but you sense it’s equally psychological as the Man competes against himself and the elements. But what exactly is the end game and what does the rucksack contain?
This film continually throws questions at the viewer but the answers are not always forthcoming. There is a cold charisma about the way the Man goes about his business. He will risk injury and discomfort but sees no immediate benefit in his endeavours. The items that appear within his purview often seem symbolic; perhaps reflections of the Man’s life. This is surrealism in its purest form as they portray events in a dream like scenario. In fact it may sound similar to a dream that many people have already had. Therein lies the skill of this piece insofar it plugs into the deep subconscious mind.
Louis Lampard has created a highly effective piece that is visually arresting but contains little in the way of meaningful dialogue. Some may find this lack of verbal animation tiresome, but the power of the story lies in the suggestion that dreams can overlap with reality.