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Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

Skrevet den 27-01-2020 11:22:11 af Tue Steen Müller

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

You never know what to expect from Latvian director Laila Pakalnina. She makes short films, she makes fiction and she makes documentaries, which are far from mainstream, with quite their own language and definitely Cinema. Like this one, ”Spoon”, she calls it, and yes, there are spoons in the film, plastic spoons but the film is much more than indicating, how spoons are made: It is a highly sophisticated black&white visual essay on the industrial world we live in. It sounds very serious, and in a way it is, but it’s not a doomsday film. You don’t feel it like that, when you watch the fantastic tableaux created by the cameraman Gints Bērziņš. What an image composer he and his director is! There are no words needed, the images invite you to enter the scene that is set up for you, see and understand/interpret for yourself. Here is the opening one:

… that is enigmatic in many ways. A woman is instructed to sit at a table with some papers in front of her. In a room with a big machine – I have no idea what it is. But there is a display on this machine, that the woman worker looks at after she has put on protective glasses and helmet, and after some men have given her advice on what her job is. The sound score is strong, mechanic and metallic, with sounds from the room but not only that, also music elements. The scene stays long, it’s a slow cinema film genre, the woman looks in the direction of the camera, smiles, puts her hand to her hair, wants to look good; it’s an amazing start of an amazing film.

Some minutes later a text appears on the screen: ”Everything here connects to everything else. Really.” Said by Leonardo da Vinci… did he really say that? A hint from the director, cut to a scene where a boy is eating with a plastic spoon, in a scene that is not clear to see as it is filmed through a window or some plastic… And then the title comes up “Spoon”.

And from there you are taken around the industrial world of our times – factories, urban landscapes, tubes, trains transporting chemicals, movements from right to left within the image, like people entering the stage, the theatre of Life, in (I read at the end credits) Azerbadjan, China, Norway, Latvia. It’s not a world you want to be in, but it’s part of our world, people are there, are working there, no working man’s death, they are protected, producing they are, it’s not fun you think and are supported in that feeling by the electric sounds in the sound score, electro music, I don’t know how to characterise it. Multilayered, a film open for interpretation and reflection, a film for everyone who loves to see how image and sound and editing, without a word being said, can be put together, Cinema! 

Latvia, 2019, 66 mins. 

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