Red Moon Tide (Lúa vermella)
Lois Patiño delivers a slow-burning mediation in Red Moon Tide, which is featured in Berlinale’s Forum program. As an experimental thought piece, Red Moon Tide fails to push forward a story and instead opts to develop a mood, its faint meaning hidden behind a grandiose exterior.
The film is constructed of a series of still, probing frames. It contains no dialogue, only pensive voiceovers that belong to the people in each corresponding frame. It shapes a narrative so faint it’s as if the viewer reads from a page that only has rubbed-out pencil lines on it. A Galician town seems to be experiencing a pause in time. Gorgeous wide shots gape at a frozen town (Patiño was the cinematographer as well as writer-director). If you submit to complete patience and a wide-open mind, Patiño does successfully capture a specific tranquillising mood. But no amount of patience will help you discern what the film is really trying to tell you. Of course, maybe that’s the point.
There are some signposts for an audience to navigate the film. The opening sequence begins with the statement, “The night of Rubio’s boat wreck, a roar flooded our village. A poisoned sound came into us.” It is a clue to a puzzle that never materialises. With no context, it’s tricky to discern what has happened, is happening, or will come. With a rigorous focus you can see a narrative emerge: Rubio, a boatman, has vanished off the Galician coast. In the wake of his disappearance, the town is stunned into stillness. There is talk of a monster. Witches also appear at a point to help search for the body.
Red Moon Tide draws heavily from a wealth of mythological and folklore references. However, the director provides no point of access, which creates a strenuous viewing experience. It is a difficult film that never loosens from its rigid confines. Patiño seems to ask: how do you make a film about stillness and loss? He answers with Red Moon Tide, a wholly stagnant thought experiment articulated by a faint howling moan that never ceases.
Red Moon Tide (Lúa vermella) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Red Moon Tide (Lúa vermella) here: