By Mónica Delgado
A Strange New Beauty is a film that deals with the inequity of world economics and creates a concept from that. The metaphor of a house as a closed exclusive entity which can only shelter a privileged group while the “outside” follows a savage and natural course, is the bet from which American filmmaker Shelly Silver develops a structure of ideological confrontation . An opulent empty house with big gardens clashes with an out of field auditory field, where we hear the other vein of narration, where voices and screams from a mental hospital, sighs and phrases spoken by an almost cybernetic soul, rule this different “outside”, which is sensorial and full of memory.
Presented in the international competition of the new edition of Cinéma du Réel, Silver’s work bursts with the tenderness of spring, in shots that show a lonely house, but in activity, with leafy trees and pools and clean, vigorous fountains, while the intertitles transform itself into moral voices, which organize the spirituality that escorts this absolutely political reflection. How to be political and escape the conventional discourses on exclusion, exploitation and social alienation? Silver composes a clear progression on animal behavior reflected in the individualism and luxury of a few ones, through the analogy of a house that is seen as the opposite side of a “world of seven billion and a half people”, which we can only imagine through diverse metaphors and memories of the pain that different voices or titles announce. And where the figure of mutual cannibalism as a method of survival gains ground just as the fifty minutes of the film go by.
The complexity which with Silver composes A Strange New Beauty is not only based on analogy or the use of the house as metaphor of a dehumanized being, but also in the play with language, in the necessity of a linguistic and auditory assumption that originates the world. That which is named, exists. And Silver utilizes the tripartite screen, alluding to a sense of simultaneity which is also rhythmic, achieving a polyphonic vision of this material allegory of absence and luxurious life.
Cinéma du Réel: International Competition
Directed by: Shelly Silver