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Ariel Rotter | Incident Light

[…] A woman who resists this change but accepts it at the same time. A woman who apparently lives in a contradiction.

[…] She doesn’t refuse love, but she refuses to rid herself of her past. Moreover, she refuses the conventional roles of the traditional patriarchal family, according to which she should kill a part of herself.

An accident (“incidente” in Spanish) lies in the background story of this film until it winds up with a large spot of light in the end. In the middle is the story of a widowed woman, Luisa, absorbed in a moment of suspended transition between her past happiness and her future love and change. A woman who resists this change but accepts it at the same time. A woman who apparently lives in a contradiction. Actually, the attachment to her twin daughters and to her deceased husband do not contradict the new attraction to the man who steps into her life. She doesn’t refuse love, but she refuses to rid herself of her past. Moreover, she refuses the conventional roles of the traditional patriarchal family, according to which she should kill a part of herself.

The film has great virtue in maintaining this ambiguity, to avoid the polarization of good and evil, right and unjust: the “bad”, traditionalist propositions of the new suitor, for example, are constantly presented together with his sincere affection. The suspense maintained throughout the film is the only way to express the real complexity of this situation; it also helps that the viewer never sees the situation frontally, through a clear-cut position. Light and darkness are not polarized in Incident Light, as the film is lit only incidentally.

For this reason, the strongest moments of this film are in the details, which may seem irrelevant, but are in fact charged with expressive meaningfulness. For example, the stolid pride of Ernesto for his kitschy cigarette machine expresses how his efforts to charm Luisa develop into a patronizing attitude. Or the comprehensive and diplomatic talk, almost a whisper, of Luisa’s family and friends is a vehicle for the heavy social pressure on her, but with a nice tension.

One last word must be said for the splendid closing shot, in which the camera moves away from the scene of the mother and children without abandoning it, as it travels backwards through a long corridor without fading out the sound. There is no way out of the story that would move exclusively towards the new, for example, leaving through window to face a new landscape (a typical filmic end), but rather a way out that keeps the eye on the familiar core. The perspective is enlarged, accepting more than what is present, but it still remains focused on that which is present. Before the image is unfocussed into a spot of light, we have enough time to witness the twins taking their first steps…

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore | Audio/Video: Ruth Baettig

First published: May 09, 2016

Incident Light | Film | Ariel Rotter | FR-ARG-URU 2015 | 95’ | FIFF 2016 | Cinéma Rex

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