Featuring plenty elegiac shots of nature, this is a slow, yet engrossing, dissection of a closed milieu. Given the sparse surroundings it captures into archetypal segments (House, Village, Island, Tree, Lake) the awe of nature and the fundamental question of Being that torments the mind. In skilled editing and elegant pans (anticipating Tarr) it reconstructs a clouded and hazy mind and the sinking of conscousness.
Far too much time goes into performing a tabula rasa. The blank slate, e.g. of a child, e.g. of a man with mental incapacity, is temporizing, a deferral, a denial of reality. Real conflict comes too late as a result, crammed in at the eleventh hour. Nor is the plot of any novelty to start with: a stranger shaking up the dynamics of a family. (Un Lac, recently, rehashes it.)