A film that seems to have been made under the influence of illicit drugs, you may need to be in a K-hole to remotely enjoy Bulgarian filmmaker Sophia Zornitsa’s Mila from Mars. In the Bible, the wise men came to Mary and the baby Jesus, but here it’s the other way around: Mila (Vesela Kazakova) flees her psycho boyfriend in the city and ends up in some kind of gated, frontier community populated by senior citizens who export marijuana. It’s there that the old folk care for Mila, deliver her baby, and allow her to enact scenes from The Clan of the Cave Bear with some Buddhist rock-climber named Teacher (Asen Blatechky), who enters the film out of nowhere in order to knock some sense into the girl. Pity no one is as generous to the film. Starved for color and seemingly shot for most of its running time at a 45° angle, Mila from Mars is certainly unlike anything I’ve ever seen (the age of Mila’s baby, Christo, serves as a throbbing timeline of events, and many scenes are accompanied by the worst techno music you’ll ever hear in your life), but everything about this curiosity seems carelessly conceived, as if it were pieced together entirely from a string of half-ideas and half-truths. Zornitsa entertains all sorts of nervous allegory and melodrama but strains to give anything that happens in the film a resonant social context. Perhaps there’s something to be gleaned about the disconnect between Bulgaria’s past and present (and its young and old people) in Mila’s relationship to the film’s geriatric tokers, but I couldn’t be bothered to make anything out beneath the shrill performances and irritating bullet-fired visual affections. Zornista could learn a few things from John Harden, whose short The Life of a Dog precedes Mila from Mars at its U.S. premiere at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual New Directors/New Films series. very much indebted to Chris Marker’s La Jete, Harden’s short—told almost entirely using black-and-white photography—observes the social and philosophical implications of what happens when a man discovers a formula that can turn people into dogs. It’s also funny and surprisingly moving.
- 95 min
- Sophia Zornitsa
- Sophia Zornitsa
- Vesela Kazakova, Assen Blatechki, Lyubomir Popov, Yordan Bikov, Zlatina Todeva, Veliko Stoianov, Vasil Vasiley-Zueka
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