Mersolis Schöne and Evi Jägle’s “Deternity” establishes itself through a discomfiting “video” or “installation art” aesthetic, with its flexing animations and projections creating a vibrancy (albeit unattainable) in the background while a more dystopian, existential anxiety is conveyed in the foreground through clinic-white textures and silhouetted movement.
The film’s most unnerving element is perhaps the conflicting nature between the background and foreground. The hands knock and claw away at a heavy, un-budging, and transparent surface that separates the two, and the sound design that emerges from this interaction is awkward and grating to the ears. Add in the droning ambiance scoring the action on display and there is a truly delusional, psychoactive effect that forces a viewer to question the space that is being portrayed, if it is even a physical space at all.
The primary criticism to mention is that the Nietzsche-inspired voice-over is used quite sparingly. Though effectively orated, this poetry could have better served the film’s philosophical groundwork if more fragments were excerpted and read dramatically throughout. Alternatively, it could have been more consistently powerful had the narration been cut altogether to allow the visuals to speak for themselves. Overall, however, the editing and cinematography propel this experience’s visceral imagery to deliver a tense, thought-provoking, and strangely symphonic experimental feat.