Review: For The Time Being
- German director Salka Tiziana makes her feature film debut with a drama about a family isolated on a farm in the Sierra Morena mountain range, inspired by her childhood memories
Following its world premiere at Germany’s Max Ophuls Prize, the film For The Time Being [+see also:
film profile] has now enjoyed its international premiere at the 49th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The German short films author Salka Tiziana is making her debut with a film inspired by fleeting moments from her childhood; specifically, memories of the farm where her grandparents lived in the Andalusian Sierra Morena mountain range.
That particular area of Spain, which the Berlin filmmaker raised in Barcelona often visited throughout her childhood, is at the heart of her delicate and exquisite first work, exploring the spatial co-existence of human beings and nature, a cohabitation which is as physical as it is emotive for humankind. Selected for the Bright Future Competition in Rotterdam and due to take part in Critics’ Week at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, the film invites us to reflect upon the various ways in which we humans alter the landscape when we live in, work in or simply visit a given place.
The film begins with Larissa (Melanie Straub) and her nine-year-old twins Jon (Jon Barder) and Ole (Ole Barder) driving towards the farmland owned by her mother-in-law Pilar (Pilar del Pino), so that the little ones can meet up with their father. Pilar and her daughter Amalia (Amalia Amián del Pino) await the arrival of their loved ones whilst also following the news on the alarming wave of fires in the Sierra Morena, caused by high temperatures. The hostile climate doesn’t stop Larissa and her children from reaching the house. Their father, however, isn’t there. For The Time Being is an intimate domestic drama focused on three women cooped up in a farm and left in limbo by the absence of this man who fails to make an appearance.
Featuring a cast of non-professional actors - with the exception of Melanie Straub - the film unfolds entirely within the four walls of the house and the vast lands annexed to the farm, which we observe via drone-recorded images. In this sense, the combination of analogical and digital formats plays a crucial role in the film. So as to create a greater sense of intimacy and/or claustrophobia, the filmmaker and her director of photography- co-producer Tom Otte used 16mm film to shoot a few of the scenes unfolding inside the house, as well as the beginning and the surprising epilogue of the movie, which turns out to be a rather cathartic experience thanks to the music composed by plastiq.
For The Time Being is a moving family drama about three women and two children who learn to live together as the landscape around them alters them emotionally. The extreme heat, the fires, the scarce supply of water, the explosions emanating from a nearby military base and the omnipresent wilderness which encircles them - represented by the persistent chirping of cicadas - all add to the drama surrounding their confinement in this farm as they await the arrival of a man who will never come.
For The Time Being is produced by Salka Tiziana herself, alongside Chantal Scheiner on behalf of Anchois Films and the afore-mentioned Tom Otte, with the support of Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig Holstein.
(Translated from Spanish)
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