Jazmin Lopez (Argentina/France/The Netherlands)
LEONES location is in nature, and it trembles and shudders surrounding its characters; a group of kids waft through the forest like a band of merry travelers. The film exerts its impact like a Japanese koan or the prose of Jorges Luis Borges. Six-words at a time (“the Hemingway game”) bubble out of the kids’ mouths, their backs turned to us, a game they play. One kid listens to a recording of the group’s dialogue (in the present or the past?), threaded with classical music as the group speaks to each other in real time. The forest mountain sea landscape is lush, fresh, verdant; its characters, like the landscape, know everything and nothing. “What if you lived in a world where there was nothing?” Isa asks Sophie, who wonders if she is tripping. The kids are as ephemeral, almost as levitating, as their dialogue. Not one syllable uttered is thrown away or superficial. All speeches ring profound as if in a play. It may strike us as a contemporary “Meshes of the Afternoon” in the way we look at the kids and their objects, with an eerie feeling. The world reverberates and throbs, pulsing with Sonic Youth’s “Do You Believe in Rapture?” One is completely brought into the rustling of the trees, and into the wordplay of the kids and their indomitable spirit. Six characters are in search of themselves, each other, a house. If they are also in search of an author, is it the audience or the forest itself? When the house is found, there is no way in. Isa gets lost in a field of pink and purple flowers, and curses for the first time about “this fucking place”. Straight out of her previously wondrous state of mind, she finds herself in a potential hell realm. She later has an excruciating revelation about death. The other kids are “gone”. Her mortality is at stake. That gash on the nape of her neck starts to make sense. She changes landscapes and makes a beeline for the ocean. Lopez’s film effectively dislocates her characters and audience. Leones begs the question “Do we believe in rapture” when there is a rupture in reality?