Polia & Blastema
My review of the P&B world premiere at the Philadelphia Film Society
On September 30, 2022, I was the first to watch the world premiere of Polia & Blastema, directed by E. Elias Merhige. He was there in the audience with his crew. I also met them after the show and said a bunch of nice things.
…And yet, I was supposed to write the movie review the next day. Oh well.
I can tell you, that I was captivated by the film and lost in the moment, that I didn't know how to objectively write about it. Too much went over my head.
Here’s what I remember… I just got in the theater when the movie was about to start.
And the movie? …It was a 40-minute collage of black and white terror. "Terror," I'm sure is the wrong word.
I don't want to cite Eugene Thacker that it has something to do with "Cosmic Horror," even though I could see Lovecraft-esque monsters in the film. And I don't want to drop Timothy Morton's name to say it has something to do with "Object Oriented Ontology."
That's the problem. I could never find an original thought to make of the film.
The next week after, I saw Stereolab at The Franklin Music Hall.
Next week, KMFDM at The Brooklyn Bowl (Philadelphia).
The week after, some anti-liberal poetry slam at Washington Square Park.
And this week was the Philadelphia Phillies playing in the World Series.
Managing this with my busy job (not sure if it is one either), It's hard to gather my thoughts and properly write about the subjects that make me feel passionate. Writing is therapeutical for me because I can collect what I felt, and then splatter it on a canvas.
The Philadelphia Film Society is a nice venue. After the film, I met a nice person who said he flew to Oakland to watch the movie. Earlier that week, I flew in from San Francisco, so I understand.
I met the guy who did the soundtrack, as well as Merhige himself.
To my surprise, the film team invited us to dinner after the show. I got to meet everyone! The team treated us to a free dinner, which I am eternally grateful for.
I remember admiring the art deco towers in Philadelphia, reminding me of the odd art direction found in Shadow of The Vampire or Suspect Zero (Actually a good film).
I remember talking of my complaints of Thacker to one of the members, insisting that his influence is unfair with regards to the entire canon of Merhige (and I could say the same thing with his treatment of Emil Ciroan, protecting an internal pessimism without reason).
Perhaps it's best to jump into the film and recount "my experiences" rather than any objective thing that happened during this photoplay.
…The film opens with a burnt filter, similar to what can be done on a Super 8 Camera. I was told this was a hybrid film between digital and analog, so it's hard to tell between the two mediums.
The images of glaciers penetrate the black void.
I see an introspection of the alien landscapes, with all al the small blemishes and the explosions.
I am taken into a whole new reality.
At the end of the film, there is a creation of some sort, of in-and-out orchestras of noise. Static imagery of shocks and jumps.
Ultimately, it feels like the entire strip of film is haunted. To some extent, it does remind me of a Merzbow performance.
During the Q and A session, some of the cast members refused to shed light on the topic that it had something to do with a lesbian relationship (I wouldn't know that either).
I can defiantly see the Stan Brakhage influence.
The only issue with the film is that it was too short.
I have yet to see Merhige create another magnum opus in the future. Meeting him was a swell experience. Merhige is super cool and an amazing person.
And also, I need to contemplate further what this entire film means. That was the hardest part of writing this “review.”
Still shooting blanks.