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February 20, 2006

Kinetta, 2005

kinetta.gifSomething of a hybrid between Tsai Ming-liang's eccentric, temp morts snapshots of human idiosyncrasy crossed with the glacially paced visual abstraction of Sharunas Bartas (most notably, The Corridor and Few of Us) by way of Philippe Grandrieux's murky, destabilized, and defocused gaze (in particular, Sombre), Yorgos Lanthimos creates a languid, elliptically fractured, and maddeningly opaque, yet strangely transfixing and, on rare occasion, even sublime meditation on ennui, desolation, and ritual in Kinetta. Ostensibly structured as a metafilm (a premise that echoes Tsai's The River and The Wayward Cloud), the film follows the curious activities of a threadbare amateur film crew as they set out to re-enact episodes from recent murder cases for unspecified (and perhaps indeterminate) motives at a near empty, off-season seaside hotel: an emotionally troubled chambermaid who seems to be more consumed with deciphering the lives of the hotel guests by lingering in their vacated rooms and going through their toiletries and personal effects than in completing her tasks efficiently; a printing and photography reproduction shop worker who aspires to become a filmmaker even as he seems oblivious to practical notions of customer requirements and working deadlines; a plainclothes police officer who devotes more of his time transcribing the details of the murders for their re-enactment project than in the actual solving of the cases. Chronicling the film crew's oppressive silence, introversion, and awkward interaction, Lanthimos captures the unarticulated despair behind their morbid obsession to create an incisive (if frustrating) exposition on loneliness, longing, and the human search for transitory connection.

Posted by acquarello on Feb 20, 2006 | | Filed under 2006, Film Comment Selects


Thanks for your fine write-up of this film. I saw it at the Berlin Film Festival, but though a rewarding experience, I found the film itself ultimately unsatisfactory. A q&a with the director didn't produce any further insight into his aspirations (beside the obvious). Interesting that you mention Bartas, as his films seemed to me the closest during projection. I actually asked Lanthimos if he was inspired by him, but he didn't know the name...

Posted by: A on Mar 26, 2006 4:40 PM | Permalink

That's funny, I didn't know that (he didn't accompany the FCS screening). I definitely pegged Lanthimos as a disciple of Bartas and Grandrieux, specifically because of the pacing of his films and the destabilization of the image. The program notes mentioned the Dardenne brothers as a stylistic reference and it wasn't even remotely close, other than the handheld jitteriness. Lanthimos' style isn't vérité at all.

Posted by: acquarello on Mar 26, 2006 10:34 PM | Permalink

He wasn't very outspoken about his film. All he said could be summed up as: "I know the place, I know the people, and this is how I see both". Maybe a true autodidact ;-)

Posted by: a on Apr 01, 2006 4:28 AM | Permalink


I am desperately trying to find a copy of the film Kinetta.....Can anyone help me? I have NO idea where to get a copy.

Thank you!!


Posted by: marcus on Aug 22, 2011 11:03 AM | Permalink

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