Distant Constellation – Movie Review

Distant Constellation – NR
Release Date: unreleased

[Note: The producer contacted me to clarify that what I saw was a test screening and the status of the film is officially unreleased.]

Quiet films require patience, but can be incredibly rewarding.

Distant Constellation is a dish best served on a reflective Sunday morning, when you don’t need to be anywhere, and you haven’t hopped yourself up on too much coffee.

The principle story follows the lives of several elderly denizens of a Turkish retirement home. We see their lives in vignettes that could mostly be called sweet. One woman nods off in the middle of her stories. A gentlemen speech patterns consist of incessantly repeating himself, as if the record in his mind has too many scratches to stop from skipping. Two other men hide all day, riding up and down in an elevator. The characterizations depicted here are rarely deep but that doesn’t mean they aren’t very real.

There’s a sense of clautrophopia in their current situation. In addition to being trapped in their failing bodies, the citizens of this home are trapped in the home itself. We never see them leave. There’s a lobby, but no-one from the outside world trespasses. The one instance we hear of a gentleman leaving, he has returned bruised from being struck by a truck. There’s no escape.

The film adds longing to this prison through the views of the world outside their windows. The microcosm depicted here consists of the home, and a giant construction site that seems to be visible from every angle. Men in hard hats crawl the work zone like ants. Their freedom seems to be limited as well, as the construction site itself resembles a giant iron and concrete pit.

The visual and audio storytelling were my favorite part of Distant Constellation. The editing on both transformed a mundane location into something storybook-ish. Occasionally the visual effects that illustrated what could be viewed out of the windows were a tad heavy handed. They distracted from what was otherwise a beautifully realized vision of life on it’s last sputtering mile. As a whole though, I enjoyed the film.

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