Of time and the sea
It is on the « First » island, the first of an imaginary archipelago of three that Peter Sant takes us for his debut – and jarring – feature film. What is happening on « First »? Not much or something that, despite the name of the atoll, looks like the lazy shredding of an ending. Before going any further, let’s specify that tale characters, or remnants of Shakespearean dramas or an unheard-of prequel of a heroic fantasy series, inhabit the rock, in reasonable numbers. A weakening king, his two daughters, the younger of which is destined to forced labour with the building of a wall made of pebbles, but also a Chinese billionaire, as well as a restless musician, and many more figures. But have no fear, we will not spoil the plot, because truth be told these twists and turns are not the crucial part of this singular and delightful film adventure. If metaphysical seeds seem to want to grow between the stones of this bleak and wonderful landscape that is Malta, it is, like with Beckett, with the same seriousness, fun and sharpness, to be windswept right away by a scathing humour. We have to accept the situation, the point for Peter Sant is a specific location, an unheard-of language (have you ever heard Maltese on screen?), a way of tampering with time, funniness, and beauty too. As we get closer, many film memories, and the best ones, arise, and they are not there out in a formal way, to salute stiffly a colleague, but as gusts of wind adding to complicity the energy of past battles. We have been conquered, and cannot wait for what is to come. (JPR)
Original version: Maltese.
Scenario: Peter Sant, Alex Vella Gera.
Picture: Martin Testar.
Editing: Daniel Goddard.
Sound: Peter Sant.
With: Ruth Borg, Narcy Callamatta.
Production: Hereonin (Peter Sant).
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