Days of August, 2006

Marc Recha channels the spirit of Lisandro Alonso’s primitivistic, metaphoric journey of interiority in Los Muertos (a derivation made all the more transparent by an extended river exploration sequence) to a visually sublime, but soporific and tediously unoriginal effect in Days of August. Ostensibly a personal chronicle of a writer, Marc (Marc Recha) who embarks on a road trip with his fraternal twin David (David Recha) in order to reinvigorate his creative energy for an unfinished project and retrace the journey of an influential, but inscrutable and almost mythical journalist and acquaintance named Ramon Barnils who spent the final years of his life wandering the desolate, largely untouched Spanish countryside where traces of the long won – and eventually lost – Revolution can still be seen in the scarred walls and abandoned ruins, the brothers’ unstructured and aimless road trip also becomes an examination of how a person can lose his identity by walking in someone else’s shoes in the vastness of an impersonal, eternal landscape (an existential theme that also evokes a pastoral rendition of Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Man Without a Map), dissolving into the atmosphere of disconnected atemporality. Chronicling the brothers’ encounters with a series of equally unengaging drifters along the way, similarly played in a blurred truth and fiction manner by real-life characters who recount their own personal stories (recalling the interpenetration between documentary and fiction of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Mysterious Objects at Noon) – a hitchhiker who once lived in New York as a flamenco dancer, a forest ranger who lives from abandoned house to abandoned house playing his trumpet, a waitress who once left an over-possessive lover – Days of August ultimately collapses from the elliptical vacuity and insubstantialness of its glossy, self-important travelogue images.

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