|A Barge and its Wind (2010)|
|Director:||Keitj T. Alin|
|Writers:||Keitj T. Alin and Frank Frederico|
|Starring:||Douglas Arthur Hall, Perry Barbarino and Nick Larich|
|The Plot: Quoting almost verbatim from the opening text crawl: In the early winter months of 2011, an unmarked barge docked at the port of Cleveland, Ohio. Penned as a vessel carrying WMD’s linked to terrorism by the govt/media, the ship was in fact federal, and contained an experimental gas. The substance was a bio-chemical agent designed using nano-technology made up of electro-magnetic particles programmed to sound frequencies. In field missions, frequencies are referred to as targets. Still a prototype, the weapon has yet to be tested. The leaked gas serves as an advantage for a surveillance test. Over the course of three days the govt strategically zoned & evacuated the city knowing there would be civilians left behind or wanted felons in hiding from arrest. Civilian lives serve as a convenient field experiment. Our film shows the lives of five survivors as they try to escape this harsh chemical agent that seems to float above their heads, like tiny black clouds, and ultimately kills whoever it swarms upon.|
A bawdy (and gaudy) array of low brow and high brow values, A Barge and Its Wind seems to be equal parts August Underground and arthouse existentialist examination. The introduction to the film seems to recall filmmakers such as Gaspar Noe, as it recalls a great deal of backstory and exposition through the use of very bold and rounded bubble type on the screen. After several cards that read us through this backstory, we are ultimately lead to out actual film which starts off like a spear traveling through the screen. We will soon be introduced to an intense amount of violence, and not only in the ways you expect. You see, what physical violence there is within A Barge… doesn’t actually show up until the latter part of this short, but for the moment Keitj T. Alin instead focuses on the harsh atmosphere of human emotions. The characters that we are saddled with are brutally violent towards one another, yelling expletives and presenting a very nihilistic view of humanity. The anger seeded within these characters seems like a side effect of whatever the WMD is that has been released. At least one hopes that is the case, and that these characters aren’t naturally this toxic and filled with hate. The conflict between our small group of characters at all times seethes hostility, which is then mixed with the visual quality of our film which is so drastically different that this mix becomes a conflict within itself.
A Barge and its Wind is a smart short, without question. If one were so inclined, I’m sure you could delve into the project and pull out several interpretations for it but I think what is here on the surface-level is of interest enough. This is a beautiful looking short. Shot in high definition video, as is standard within the field now, the filmmakers give their movie a professional polish with some interesting post-production FX and a brilliant audio composition. The soundtrack is filled with unsettling sounds that resemble the snowstorm that waits outside of this run down building that the project takes place in. Gusts of wind and strange fragmented noises fill up the audio space, and this helps add to the wholly disturbing and claustrophobic atmosphere that the film generally reflects.