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By Doug Brunell | July 11, 2006

Director Shane Ryan does an art film that kind of plays like something people would do in college if they had skills. I won’t even attempt to explain what happens in it, though I definitely got an end-of-the-world-at-the-hands-of-flesh-eaters type vibe from the images presented. It’s those images, and not the plot, that attracted my attention. The film continually returns to a young woman, naked and covered in blood. This image is used a lot by artists working in various mediums because it connects with people on levels they may not even realize. Ryan uses that connection to his advantage, and it’s one thing that really stands out in his film. Women are naturally tied to blood via menstruation. Men, while attracted to the female of the species, often find themselves repulsed by this relationship women have with blood. That said, the symbolism is still used in various degrees in art to act as a seduction tool. Even the early descriptions of Elizabeth of Bathory (correct or not) played on these primal sexual feelings as they conjured up images of the Countess literally bathing in virginal blood. It’s erotic and terrifying, and Ryan puts a similar image to use in “The Pure Exodus.” He features the giver of life covered in the essence of life in such a way that it hints at someone’s death. It is sexually charged with an undercurrent of subtle violence. Hostile, yet inviting. It’s the kind of stuff nightmares and dreams are made of. This film may not be Ryan’s best, as it is a bit too ephemeral for most tastes, but the things it does in six short minutes will stay with you for days after viewing it, and that may have been his only intent. Most art films are easily forgettable, if not laughable in their pretentiousness. “The Pure Exodus” is different, though just how different remains up to the viewer. One thing is for certain, though. Ryan can draw you into his world in seconds. And it’s true that it’s not a safe place, but you’ll never be bored. Curse or a blessing? Again, that’s up to you.

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