The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Marina Antunes [Celluloid 07.03.12] drama experimental

Over the last few days, the film world has been abuzz with Tim Sutton's Pavilion which was recently picked-up for distribution by Factory 25. The film premiered earlier this year at SXSW's Emerging Visions section and though it instantly caught our attention, I must admit I was a bit sceptical when Sutton's name was being uttered in the same breath as Lance Hammer, Gus Van Sant (in Elephant mode) and David Gordon Green. Yet, as a fan of these filmmakers and their takes on the small scale, personal filmmaking, I was also excited to see if Sutton and his film were worthy of the attention.

The basic story follows Max as he moves from a lakeside town to live with his father in Arizona. How he feels about the move isn't clear though his lack of excitement suggest he's not exactly thrilled about it. Pavilion isn't so much a linear story with a plot that uncovers the secret mysteries of what it means to be young in today's world, if you're looking for that, you'll have to go elsewhere. Sutton's organic film making sets the plot as the starting point but allows for some wonderful interactions and shifts in the story. The choice is bold but it leaves a gigantic hole in the narrative which renders what bit of story there is pretty much non-existent. That's not a bad thing but it's certainly an unexpected approach which left me in a daze. This is a movie where little happens, there are no big dramatic moments or action sequences, and though I certainly had the feeling that the interactions between the kids was genuine, I didn't feel emotionally drawn to either the situations or any of the kids. It sounds like a detriment but in the case of Pavilion, the lack of narrative doesn't detract from enjoying the film.

I love films like Ballast and George Washington because through their intimate, largely unscripted dramas, they shed light not only on what it's like to be young but also reaffirms life, complete with all its hardships. Pavilion doesn't quite reach those levels, the narrative is much too lose for that, but along the way it did draw me into the moments; the basketball games until dusk, the bike rides through quiet neighbourhoods as nightfall descends, the awkward interaction with girls. I was drawn into Sutton's film not because of the drama but in spite of the fact that there is none. I was drawn in by the visuals; the lush greenery, the beautiful nights and the breathtaking twilight images which Sutton and cinematographer Chris Dapkins gorgeously capture.

Truth be told, I didn't love Pavilion from the beginning but there's a bit of magic at work here that drew me into the film's dreamlike prose and I found myself enjoying the trip. Though on more than one occasion I did hope for something more or at least a better insight into the characters, those thoughts were fleeting and I was happy to enjoy the images and the sounds care of Sam Prekop.

With its uncommon narrative style, Pavilion is bound to disappoint anyone looking for a hard hitting drama but those willing to leave narrative behind and simply enjoy a guided tour though the gorgeous world as captured by Sutton's lens, is in for a treat. A beautiful, boundary testing first film, Pavilion calls to be experienced.

You might also like

Leave a comment