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Sunday, November 20, 2016

NESTOR -- DVD Review by Porfle



Being alone for a long time messes with your mind.  So I guess a movie about a guy who's alone for a long time should mess with your mind too, the way this one does. 

If there was ever a cinematic one-man band, NESTOR (Candy Factory Films, 2014) is it.  The credit crawl is one line long: "Everything by Daniel Robinson."  It doesn't really say that, but it might as well, because he literally did the whole thing by himself. Direction, camera, sound, editing, writing, music, catering, and playing the lone character.  

We're never really sure what's going on, and neither is Daniel (we might as well call him that) who, for reasons beyond his grasp, wakes up one snowy day on a frozen lake bloodied and clad only in his orange swim trunks.  A nearby house is unoccupied, so he finds his way in just to keep from freezing to death.



As we watch Daniel rummage through the house for necessary items (such as ill-fitting clothes) and use his ingenuity to get the utilities running again, the film levels out into a slow, thoughtful, almost palpably introspective tone poem on the nature of being alone.  In other words, it wouldn't fit quite that well on a double bill with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

It's the visual equivalent of New Age music but with an increasingly puzzling element--there's another Daniel, and he seems to be following the first one around, and he seems to know what's going on. This becomes apparent when Daniel #1 visits the nearby town and finds it empty of people, and Daniel #2 is seen traversing the same locations.

It reminds me of the end part of 2001 when Kier Dullea's astronaut character keeps catching glimpses of himself in various states and times.  While the story of Daniel #1 coping with solitude continues to hold our interest, we see scenes of the other guy actually making the movie that we're watching, scenes which are also part of the movie that we're watching.  Like I said, it messes with your mind.


Meanwhile, this is a nice, relaxing, and often very pretty movie (Robinson has an artist's eye for beautiful shots) to relax and settle into if you don't have anything pressing to do for awhile.  The lake and its environs are scenic, and Robinson fills the movie with what's known in Japanese cinema as "pillow shots", or cutaways to seemingly unrelated visual elements to establish mood.

And establishing mood is pretty much what NESTOR is all about. The "Twilight Zone" element is there to hold our attention, scintillate us a bit, and get us to thinking deep thoughts long enough to keep us watching a movie in which very little of conventional interest actually happens. 

With NESTOR--the name comes from the nearby Canadian town of Nestor Falls--Daniel Robinson the filmmaker-philosopher is of a mind to meditate (some might call it navel-gazing), and he wants to share it with us.  The result, in addition to being a lovely film, is fiercely contemplative.  It's mega-meta.  It's as though Daniel Defoe had written himself into "Robinson Crusoe."  (Hmm...Daniel?  Robinson?  I wonder...)

Buy it at Amazon.com
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Street Date: November 22, 2016
Type:  DVD
Running Time: 62 mins.
Rating:  N/A
Genre:  Drama
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:  5.1 Surround Sound





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