Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original Title: Diários de Otsoga
Portugal, 2021. O Som e a Furia, Uma Pedra no Sapato. Screenplay by Maureen Fazendeiro, Miguel Gomes, Mariana Ricardo. Cinematography by Mário Castanheira. Produced by Sandro Aguilar, João Miller Guerra, Filipa Reis, Luís Urbano. Production Design by Nuno Esteves, David Franco. Costume Design by Andresa Soares. Film Editing by Pedro Filipe Marques.
Co-directors Marcelo Gomes and Maureen Fazendeiro offer up this freeform, experimental indulgence as a visual balm for those suffering with lockdown blues during the Covid-19 pandemic, carting out their cast and crew to a farm in Sintra and photographing them against some beautiful rural backdrops. As referenced by the title, in which the month of August is spelled backwards, the scenes are presented in reverse order, beginning on Day 31 with scenes of the three protagonists interacting with the farm’s animals, building a shelter for butterflies and enjoying the pool and then, as we move closer to the beginning of the month, revealing the crew of the film we are watching, who negotiate plans for the scenes we have already watched. Nothing that occurs on screen is particularly commanding or resonant, the whole thing is an experiment in aesthetics, but as such is a very pleasant one, you can smell the grass and summer air under the hot sun and the many of the film’s uncomplicated tableaux invoke a sense of peace more than boredom. As a film it feels more like an exercise in keeping both directors out of trouble between more important projects, but their fans will be pleased.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2021