Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Film Review: Hello Kitty (2011) Millo Simulov

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

It might be the fact that I have been totally immersed in my thesis on Béla Tarr that I have managed to pinpoint similar themes in Millo Simulov's short film Hello Kitty (24 mins) or it may be my current obsession with the spiritual writings of Mircea Eliade. Nevertheless this idea of portraying a sense of hyper-reality in film certainly comes to play in Hello Kitty. It portrays a group of five male friends who escape the city for a day at the beach. They opt to drive a car embellished in Hello Kitty stickers belonging to one of their sisters after another car they planned to take breaks down. On the way to the beach the characters encounter a number of strange experiences which are amplified by the invasiveness of the sun, either shining into the camera or obstructing the characters visage. The sun alongside a strange otherworldly sound (those familiar with Mihály Víg's sound work on Tarr's films will know what I mean) creates a sense of nausea resulting in a foreboding atmosphere. Props need to be addressed to sound designer Tudor Popescu in this case, as he really manages to mesh the sound with the image in a harmonious way. 

By the end of the film one of the characters disappears while swimming into the night, merging into the abyss. This cuts to a sequence of shots focusing on the belongings of the characters which are now infested with flies before moving to an image of the friends, only four of them remaining, glaring out towards the horizon between the pink sky and the sea, sobbing for their lost brother - a meloncholic violin tune (à la Víg) supporting their grief. Immediately I had problems with this final image - personally I would have cut it at the image of the flies to leave the audience with that morbid feeling that had been established to this point by concoction of the sun and sinister noise. However, on second consideration I understand the importance of including this final shot, because without it, the balance between reality and the unexplained would not have been level. Suffice to say I was quite taken with Mr. Simulov's short and I look forward to exploring more of his oeuvre.

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