Exposed to Each Other is a film by Mersolis Schone and comes to us from Vienna, Austria. This short film is based on a poetic text collage by Marion Steinfellner that brings together a multicultural and multilingual collection of Indian, Japanese, German and Austrian texts by Yuko Kaseki, Savita Rani, Mersolis Schone and Marion Steinfellner. Presented as a kind of film poem, the common thread of these texts is touch and touching which are presented as journeys and how interpersonal, intercultural encounters connect us to each other across the world. This is the fundamental question at the heart of Exposed to Each Other - How are we connected to each other? - and each scene propels us further on a multi-faceted journey exploring this idea.
The connections themselves remain implicit. It is up to the audience to interpret how the performers, visuals, voiceover, and poetry substitute as stand-ins for more concrete conceptions of these ideas. The language is symbolic and, yes, poetic but it is also intentionally open. The technical elements - lighting, cinematography, coloring, framing, and shadowing - all combine to create delicate, dynamic, and mesmerizing visuals that match the spoken words and themes of the piece. The silhouettes of human beings surrounded by the beauty and splendor of nature, the slow, languid pace of the shots dissolving into each other, and the lilting rhythmic voiceover constitute only one part. All the elements in combination create a palpable atmosphere, something mysterious and yet something intimately familiar at the same time. It is a vibrant movie - the colors captured here are unlike colors you have ever seen before and gives you the illusion of having entered a different world, an alien world. What has actually changed is the way these elements are being presented to us. Divorced from their context and placed in a new one, paired with new ideas, it is viewed differently by each member of the audience. This hallmark makes it a very personal viewing experience.
Its subject matter, as well as its structure and its very apparent emotion make it a very deeply personal viewing experience as well. The audience can identify the filmmaker’s own personal journey and go on their own journey, having their own emotional reaction (or not) to what is presented to you. I said before that it is called a film poem and follows many hallmarks of that form but at its core, it resists definition. It is an unpredictable film, a film that challenges you, that stands apart from all genres because it pulls from all of them. It is a true synthesis of poetry and film that generates its own associations, connotations and metaphors that neither the original text nor the film by itself would have been able to provide. It is a movie that requires attention because you need to be drawn into the very special atmosphere created by all of the artistic elements working in sync. It is a piece of art, a piece of spoken word poetry, a dance film, an avant-garde experimental short, a collage. It is a movie that requires attention because the way it is made demands attention and thought.
Don’t miss Exposed to Each Other which is screening at the 2023 New Jersey Film Festival as part of Short Program #1 on Saturday, January 28th, online for 24 hours and in-person at 5PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ. To buy tickets go here.
For General Info on the Film Festival go here: https://newjerseyfilmfestivalspring2023.eventive.org/welcome