Thank you, Mubi. Deep gratitude. This is why I’m here. Things like this, the Peter Bo Rappmund series, Anne Emond, Deborah Stratman, the Lav Diaz series, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and on and on. Form and function, abstract and formal values, meaning, they are all one thing.
My son was killed in an apartment fire where his two roommates were able to get out unharmed. There is a scene in this movie where Jesse stops to visit Jonas's father that rings so true to life. The father stops in the middle of fixing coffee to come back into the room with Jesse and kiss him. I recognized that desire to reach out and say, "it's ok. I don't wish it were you. I'm glad you survived."
"Would I have loved the film even more if the story had a bit more meat on it, and if the abstract images didn’t burst my bubble of comfort? Absolutely. But, I’d be blind if I didn’t appreciate and support Bas Devos’ [and DP Nicolas Karakatsanis'] fearlessness in telling [t]his story with such haunting visual cues." - Nikola Grozdanovic, IndieWire. 3.5 stars
Felt like after my room is ultra clean and my sheets freshly washed and I plop on my bed to slowly thumb through a recently purchased expensive European arts and fashion magazine. The images are angelic, the articles are poetic, and the silence of the photography has so much meaning. Divine film.
The aestheticization of trauma and sorrow, with self-indulgent nods to Gus Van Sant and Michael Haneke. I was expecting (or rather, hoping for) a final revelation à la Antonio Campos (Afterschool) but the CCTV footage at the beginning is just a MacGuffin and the Google Streetview interludes just redundant (a metaphor for disorientation?). And what about the fog at the end? An homage to John Carpenter?
It's going for mood and a bit of existential contemplation. It is just really slow. The acting is solid and so realistic that it almost seems like a documentary. And then the mood just digs in at somber level 1000 and never lets up. Some good camerawork and a very interesting final shot that makes you wonder what the P.O.V. is, and the answer might have caused me to wish that the entire movie was more like that.
Violet is the kind of cinema where narrative is reduced to almost nothing, which brings the poetry of sounds and images on the foreground. Though the film seems a bit too much in love with its own flou artistique, as a cinematic mood piece this debut from Bas Devos is a refreshing addition to the new crop of young Flemish filmmakers who started flourishing around DOP Nicolas Karakatsanis.