Monday, January 30, 2012

Slnko v sieti

When a film takes more than one dimension and gives forth several layers of coherent meaning, it is already a worthy one. Slnko v sieti (int’l title: The Sun in a Net) not only does that but also produces several visual and aural metaphors, serving also as reference marks for emotions and for the other undescribables throughout the film. The film is sort of a collection of several little stories interacting with each other: the story is more like the tributaries of a river when they have not yet joined in with the river. We only have a sense or an anticipation, which successfully works as suspense, that there will be a river, that these stories mesh with each other. To write such a screenplay and thereafter to translate it onto the screen are the toughest things I can imagine, and I can only marvel at the skill of Štefan Uher, the director, and Alfonz Bednár, the writer. Both would have been nothing had it not been for the wonderful black-and-white cinematography of Stanislav Szomolányi.

It is hard to define Slnko v sieti: the title says it all, and just as the sun in a net is not so tangible after all but only a fleeting joy, so does the film talks of all such fleeting impressions, which slowly build and create a man’s character, his or her persona. If the film were only about Fajolo, a bereft teen with an obsession of photographing hands, it could have been probably called as one of those “coming-of-age” movies. However, while Fajolo is always learning and discovering the world, so is his romantic interest, Bela, and so is Bela’s blind mother, and so is Bela’s little brother, amidst the lies that he excels in creating.

The central question of the movie is contained in one line uttered during a soliloquy: “Who hurts us?”
It is the black sun that is hoped to be more revelatory than the white sun they daily see and fail to catch in the nets, the black sun that comes only once in 120 years. The black sun is like the messiah for the modern world: where you say “tyranny,” but you don’t even know how is it the very word that tyrannizes us, that dominates us to the extent that we are nothing outside of it, that we are not able to do anything than mumble “tyranny, tyranny.” And in such a world there are also Peto and Jana, who have decided to live under the white sun, for whom waiting for the imagined does not exist; on the other hand, Bela’s mother has also never waited for the imagined, but because she has also lived in the imagined: in those yarns created by Bela and her brother and in her own fears and love. Between the tensions of these two worlds exist Fajolo and Bela: Fajolo is the poet with his camera, for whom imagination has taken the proportions of a despot and he disregards what is there (Bela) for what all he imagines, he is ready to wait another 120 years even if cursing himself for it; Bela is the poet with her love to give, who only waits to escape this battle between sun and darkness, who hates but does not know what or whom she hates. She doesn’t know who hurts us.