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SLAMDANCE 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! Museum of Fleeting Wonders is a 12-minute presentation on five diverse characters during a specific and fleeting moment of their everyday life. Inspired by real people, Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s glimpse of these five characters is rather brisk, muted, and cryptic. Separated into five parts, Museum of Fleeting Wonders captures the mundane, inexplicable, and peculiar in a sober compilation of swift 90-second scenes that abide by a staid rhythm.

Sampling from Eduardo Acevedo’s experiences (1992), the first recollection titled “I felt like it was playing with me” highlights a man (Mario Monaco) taking out the trash behind a building. After throwing it away, he begins walking back, only to get distracted by a street light that seems to turn on whenever he’s directly underneath it. When he’s not in range, the light immediately turns off. It’s strange because the lamp is positioned nowhere near the trash bins, and only stays on when the host is under the source. The man is intrigued, and he tries to recognize the boundaries of where he can stand before the light turns on.

“…a 12-minute presentation on five diverse characters during a specific and fleeting moment of their everyday life.”

“I will never have an answer,” the second chapter which samples from Mary Sabbath (2009), follows a middle-aged woman (a wide-eyed Elisabeth Kirstein) as she puts groceries in the trunk of her car. As she prepares to leave, she hears ear-splitting laughter coming from the car parked next to her. Strangely, the inflated laughter is coming from a nun in the driver’s seat of that car. The nun is also inexplicably holding a plastic bag while she lets out eerie chortling. The woman can’t help but intrude on the nun. She’s hoping to find an answer to why the nun is laughing uncontrollably. Also, what’s in the bag?

Taking from Valeria Uriarte Lopez (2011), the third moment, “A momentary glimpse,” documents a woman’s (an unflustered Ese Bale) bus ride as she catches the glance of a passenger. The gaze doesn’t appear to be romantic or hostile, although the circumstances are still left ill-defined. Maybe it has to do with how there are people always around us, but we hardly acknowledge their existence. We keep our jaded life goggles on.

Museum of Fleeting Wonders (2020)

Directed and Written: Tomás Gómez Bustillo

Starring: Ese Bale, Mario Monaco, Elisabeth Kirstein, Rosemary Jung, Pam Shayne Murray, Barbara Park, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Museum of Fleeting Wonders  Image

"…captures the mundane, inexplicable, and peculiar in a sober compilation of swift 90-second scenes"

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