Congratulations to newcomer Skylar Gordon for creating a “movie” that defies both convention and experimentalism and, as such, cannot really be rated by the ordinary star-ranking system used by film critics everywhere.
Hmmm. So now that we know my fate as critic, where does that leave you?
Everywhere and nowhere—and obviously this is the place where Gordon is most at home. Maybe…
If this is beginning to feel like a bogus mind-game, then you’re on the right track toward attempting to understand Skylar Gordon’s great plan. Good luck with that.
Gordon’s premiere feature, “Ontologica!” is a written philosophical assessment of “being,” a la philosophers Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Gordon, him or herself. In Guy Maddin’s “Heart of the World”-flash-cut fashion, “Ontologica!” opens with the written statement that viewing is at the spectator’s own risk. It further states that the filmmaker cannot be responsible for any reactions viewers may have, including suicide (though on the filmmaker’s website, the words “Please Do Not Kill Yourself” are present). Gordon then goes on to argue that “Ontologica!” is not really a “film” at all. Following these contentions, words are blasted in the forms of numerical problems, equations, questions about man, the universe, reality, God—infinity… Interspersed in this endless soup of flashing words are occasional images of coitus, and brief silent scenes of a little boy asking his mother about how life begins and what that really means.
Ahhh the beauty… or the horror… of it all…
And “infinity”— that all or nothing term—with its endless possibilities. “Infinite” is the most likely ranking I would grant Gordon for the exhaustive amount of work that went into this feature about everything, and nothing.
But is this Seinfeldian film-that-is-not-a-film, fit for cinematic consumption?
I almost think not, since the eternal flashing of words and psychedelic light may prove trying to viewers not so inclined to metaphysical/scientific education. Perhaps the best venue for “Ontologica!” would be a science museum, or an exhibition for conceptual art. But no matter what the fate of “Ontologica!,” KUDOS to Skylar Gordon for making something that challenges all we hold dear about cinema. That has to be a good thing, right? Right.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.