Close-Up is a feature that spotlights films now playing on MUBI. Angela Schanelec's The Dreamed Path (2016), which is receiving an exclusive global online premiere on MUBI, is showing from May 4 - June 3, 2018 as a Special Discovery.
Every now and then, it’s not wrong to ponder on the nature of emotions in cinema. Why does an image arouse an emotion? In Angela Schanelec’s cinema in general, and in The Dreamed Path in particular, the flow of emotions is unleashed by a radicalization of the sensitive experience. Commotion is physical, more than narrative, and it demands a specific attention. Almost at the end of the film there will be a panoramic shot of the vicinity of Berlin’s central train station. Several things happen, but all the affective force of the shot lies in the position of a dog and its behavior.
The story starts in Greece. A young couple sings on the street. He dreams of being a singer; she would like to be a professor, like her mother. A fatality will separate them for a time, and perhaps forever. The mother of the young man had an accident. It’s 1989; these are times both confusing and of change. Without warning, the tale will jump to our time and different characters. An actress and her husband are in crisis; they have a beautiful daughter. Some time later, older, but dressed just as before, the two former youngsters we saw at the beginning will come back into the tale. All kinds of things have happened, even though this might not be obvious, and it’s only then that the whole meaning of the title will be fully grasped.
Bresson’s influence is not even concealed. The quantity of shots of hands and feet refer aesthetically, and numerically, to the French master. If indeed one of the characters says he has faith while at the same time complains about the complete inattention of the Highest, Schanelec’s film, however, dispenses with the theological plus of Bresson’s cinema. Materialism is absolute, and the contingency of men and things is inescapable. Without divine intervention, redemption is aesthetic and extra-diegetic—a beauty that hasn’t been confiscated yet by the impiety of the world nests in the form, in the extreme purity of each shot, and in the delicacy of a gesture. It is logical then to shudder with the sight a girl licking the wound of her swimming partner, or the confession of a blind father to his son, whom he recognizes immediately as an unmistakable blur.