Forest – I See You Everywhere (Rengeteg – mindenhol látlak)
Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance for Lilla Kizlinger
Seven successive domestic disputes, played out by a mixture of professional and non-professional actors, constitute this wordy and densely-populated film. The rushing streams of dialogue and complicated cavalcade of characters meet at a common point: they usually refer to a discredited absentee or they contain a troubled relative and problem child. The requirement of these scenes is such that there’s a constant supply of exposition, often deployed in an unfurling manner, functioning both as a spontaneous reminder to the already informed actors and as an exhaustive introduction for the otherwise ignorant audience.
Writer and director Bence Fliegauf has a tendency to over-demonstrate in both narrative and vision. To give an impression: following an obtuse preamble featuring a possibly deceased old gentleman, the first segment includes a teenager preparing a school presentation in front of her father. The talk is about her mother’s car crash. She uses an iPad to illustrate the key events and subsequent implications of this hitherto private tragedy. Revelations to the viewer are sequentially drip-fed and the camera scours the two participants, split along the lines of age and perspective, by cross-examining their facial expressions and physical movements, closely tracing their barbed interjections and verbal tussles.
It’s a technique not without effect, but one that becomes diluted with excessive routine. How much psychological insight can be really sought by alternating the point of view from one person’s shouts to the next? The script necessarily tends to the ornate and expressive, propelling forward the crafted miniature dramas, which, in turn, draw attention to the relentless, suffocating visual format. This seems to be the case no matter the presented situation: be it a couple’s disagreement, a mother-son argument, a stubborn man’s illness or a doubtful commentary on “digital detox”. DPs Mátyás Gyuricza and Ákos Nyoszoli employ caffeinated and proximate camerawork to frame the invectives, nominally in the style of John Cassavetes, but as rendered here, it appears mannered and studious.
Overall, the pointed emphasis on extreme close-ups, as well as the insistence on suggestive elements of the production design, amount to little more than a series of hard surfaces. Forest – I See You Everywhere‘s perpetual focus on skin and objects prohibits the audience from accessing the interior consciousness of its characters, thwarted further by the incessant verbiage that escapes their mouths. It manufactures a peculiar cinematic space that manages to achieve distance through immediacy, behind which true thoughts and feelings are sacrificed and human experiences remain opaque.
Forest – I See You Everywhere (Rengeteg – mindenhol látlak) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Forest – I See You Everywhere (Rengeteg – mindenhol látlak) here: