SIFF Encore - Para Asia by Fran Borgia


The ability of the human mind to imagine and recreate has no equivalent. Without having to live through the extremity of horror, death, loss, we as filmmakers have, through the medium of film, been able to utilize our cumulative experience to materialize these circumstances so vividly. Facts, research and other tools aside, I think it is ultimately the unanswered desire for something, could be a feeling or some other form of fulfillment, that gives us this ability. In Para Asia (For Asia, Asia as in a Spanish name), the protagonist faces up to the death of his flame. The reasons are unknown but the deep sense of loss is palpable. Returning home from the funeral, he salvages every bit of what she has left behind and this includes enclosing himself in her wardrobe. One can already imagine the scent her clothes have left behind. But finally, he chances upon a set of old film slides from a trunk. They were singular shots of his late partner at a cheery beach setting. From a stack of slides, he starts assembling them on a lighted surface and aligning them in a sequence that pleased him, a process familiar to us all. Then, comes the piece-de-resistance, the filmlet he has pieced together. In an empty cinema, sitting at one side of the frame as if to emphasize the lack of a watching companion, he rolls his hand-made piece of work. Jumpy and flickering incessantly at first, it melds into a smooth seamless footage of his enchanting partner in full colours.
The film could be a dedication to all the people whom we have lost and whom we miss dearly now. But it is also like a tribute to the idea of recreation. In a self-referencing and mirroring way, Para Asia sensitively tracks the steps the man takes from grief to obsession and finally self-gratification, reminding me of the journey I take as a filmmaker in every piece of work. Throughout the film, motifs of images, photographs and black-and-whiteness all serve to reinforce this theme. Even the sound quality reflects a great amount of sensitivity and purpose (though this could be simply due to higher production value). Or maybe when everything is in black and white, we can finally start to hear everything in between the lines.

Share:

0 cent worth