for Cinetalk.net

Sonya is into the embalming business. Her family own outlet is under heavy pressure from local thugs because of increasing debts. A little more deaths could insure a living. Whilst not scared of dead bodies, she is afraid of the dark amid living a life of seclusion and loneliness. The arrival of the corpse of a middle aged woman, under intriguing circumstances, might change a few things.

Dwein Baltazar’s drama, Ode to Nothing, proffers a personal and gentle meditative approach of thematic material regularly dealt, but quite differently, within the horror genre. While it may look slightly morbid, it never falls into excess. It is mostly a tale of solitude and sorrow, a metaphor on some of the country’s open wounds with a fair degree of dark humor. Slightly, it tackles the subject of corruption through the mysterious arrival of the body that someone ‘may claim later’. Politics? Kidnapping? Settlement? Sonya doesn’t really care.

Sonya (played by local star Marietta Subong aka Pokwang) fills emptiness in displaying social skills solely when surrounded by the dead. She cares for them, talks to them, creating a dialogue. She is just not that good with the living and they are not really good to her. It is interesting to note that Subong, before her breakthrough on television (reality shows, comedy), had her own share of life dramas. She is a great fit.

The beautiful and placid set up and pace are simple but effective, thanks to fine, confine frames and cinematography that specifically express a frame of mind set and moody situations.

Ode to Nothing is a brilliantly composed gloomy pilgrimage.

Fantasia Screening : Wednesday, July 17th, 5PM at J.A DeSève Cinema (Concordia University)

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