Spontaneous consumption! Mother of all Evils. This great Evil, where does it come from? And where does it go?
A manipulative object of aesthetic, in four movements, Federico Biasin & Giorgio Ferrero’s Beautiful Things scans the lives, with some truths and a few alternative facts of their own, of everyday objects through a chain of creation… and destruction.
Four workers in their surroundings of infinite solitude: an oil industry operator in the desert (Van Quattro), a cargo ship sailor, a scientist and a «cleaner» who terminates objects we don’t need anymore. Providing we really needed them in the first place.
It starts between oil pumps in the desert. The place where it all begins, the source to raw material. Co-director Biasin, who’s also the cinematographer, initially sets a meditative approach, à la Wim Wenders’ Paris,Texas, establishing the picturesque and on-location character-driven tone to follow. Next in line for these solitary potraits, a Filipino worker on a large scale cargo ship carrying the oil. For both subjects, we are invited to a travel made of inner thoughts and bonds to gigantic, but confine, living environments. Isolated men working in the chain for mass consumption. It is interesting to note that neither of them seems to be high consumers themselves, while living off it.
The near quiet environments of this first part sets up the two following characters of segments three and four of the picture, in which it becomes quite surreal.
Testing the sounds of any ‘things’, acoustic researcher Andrea Pavoni Belli invites us into his cache of sound and silence, while Vito Mirizzi is our Cyberpunk-Ashes Man in charge of the Ecclesiastes 12:7 chapter… and the dust returns to the ground it came from. A cross between Hell and a German Goth techno party.
Beautiful Things offers something that stands between Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi) and Errol Morris, particularly Fast Cheap and Out of Control. Above all, the film is a musically incline audiovisual piece created to work with dimension, space and sound. This should come as no surprise since the working team behind it comes from contemporary Art. Ferrero is responsible, with co-producer Rodolfo Mongitore, of the carefully crafted music and sound design. Both, working together under pseudonym minus&plus, scored several works for museums, theater and advertising. That overall aspect may leave some documentary purists unsatisfied (and the film has its detractors among our film critics circle) as it could probably have gained from being just a little more conclusive toward its subject and numerous ideas along the line of such a grave subject as natural resources is.
While it does not aim at finding answers to the fatalist question (where do we go from now?), Beautiful Things is certainly one beautiful and sounding object in itself to be fully discovered on the big screen.
Nov. 16 6:45 PM, Cinéma du Musée des Beaux-Arts with English subtitles
Nov. 17 2:00 PM, Cinéma Quartier Latin 10 with English subtitles