The pursuit of happiness, psychic control, and retro-elegance, are some of the ingredients in Planos Cosmatos’ film.
Adjusting the Colour of the Past: Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010) /
There is a type of film that does not want to be categorised and refuses to assume the uncertain present where there are few functional solutions. The immediate past is recreated by these films, an exploration through the imagination and the building of paths that were never taken. A feeling of not wanting to wake up from a late adolescence, of the artist’s early illusion, a way of keeping innocence intact. These films are extremely pleasant and end up being dreams, plagued by a colourful nostalgia.
Set in 1983, Beyond the Black Rainbow, (Planos Cosmatos, 2010), is a flashback to young David Cronenberg’s early attempts to create science fiction, influenced by the works of William Burroughs, finding an interesting aesthetic which excused him from his budget. Curiously enough the dramatic structure resembles Jim Henson’s 1980s fairy tales, transmuting archetypes with its visionary employment of puppets mixed with actors, like a young Jennifer Connely or a macabre David Bowie, resembling films like Labyrinth (1986) or The Dark Crystal (1982).
With a soundtrack that mixes progressive electronic music, perhaps alluding to what Tangerine Dream used to do for films like Firestarter (Mark L. Lester, 1984), with atmospheric sounds that help transport us to a peculiar institute for psychological experimentation, where young Elena (Eva Bourne) is imprisoned against her will. Barry Nyle (Michael Rogers) is the guru director of this institute that has almost become a sect, and who plays with Elena’s powerful virginal mind, in order to synthesise the power he wants to obtain.
Our attention is grasped by the film’s monochromatic scheme, which is achieved by its use of lighting, its detailed contrasts and the elegant unfolding of art that achieves a great deal with limited resources. This retro minimalism is obtained by embracing the cinematographic film instead of the digital record that is so popular nowadays, shooting in 35mm, when this is no longer done and trying to physically deal with the camera effects instead of using a computer. As if this was some sort of investigation, using an old video console, telepathy, the soul’s mutation and transmigration phenomena, the film explores subjects like man’s obsession, which make him the slave of his perennial egoism preventing him from moving onwards.Tagged: cinema, filmmakers, Planos Cosmatos, Beyond the Black Rainbow