| April 16, 2012

Sometimes, when an indie filmmaker wants to make a film that features a poetic script and beautiful cinematography, it lacks a substantial story. Such is not the case with Mason Thorne’s Gigantomachia. Though it’s arguably one of the most beautiful films in existence, the film tells a powerful story about a family of refugees facing the impending doom of the future.

The term “experimental film” is used loosely in today’s culture, but Gigantomachia is the definition of such a film. It is combination of live-action and animation. The two are blended in the most unconventional and breathtaking way. The film might have been able to survive without such a strong plot because of the cinematography’s execution, but the powerful, relevant plot makes it that much better.

A family of refugees, known only as Papa (Jose Maria Mendiola), Rozo (Lorena Diaz), and Maria (Alisson Anguiano) is living in fear. Papa’s grandfather was killed under mysterious circumstances back in Mexico, the family’s home country. Papa wants to return, but is scared for his life. His family back home wants him to remain in America, and his daughter wants to stay there, too. Papa isn’t sure what to do. He fears for his family’s safety, but is unsure about having to mourn from a distance.

Along with the strains of the mysterious murder, the family has to deal with the strain of being refugees and staying together as a family. They face the same problems any parents with a preteen-aged daughter would face, and they are not played down by the more deathly, looming issues either.

Enter The Creature. He’s a strange boy who doesn’t speak and cries often. Sometimes he’s large and sometimes he’s small, but he seems to bring comfort to the family. As time goes on and the story develops, the family discovers that The Creature might be more powerful and crucial to alleviating the family’s problems.

Gigantomachia features lyrical narration and beautiful shots of the city of Chicago; both the downtown areas and some of the smaller neighborhoods. It’s raw, but also romanticized with a grand, imaginative storytelling strategy that is sure to blow the mind of anyone who watches. The movie is odd, and it grows increasingly so as the film progresses, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. The quirky nature mixed with the original and realistic storyline makes Gigantomachia truly one-of-a-kind.

The film features a mix of English and Spanish (with Spanish subtitles). For a seemingly random movie, Gigantomachia is very cohesive. It is simplistic, yet complex; eerie, yet comforting. The line between the horrendous reality of the family’s situation and the utopic, blissful imagination of each of the characters (especially Maria) is somehow blurred. As a whole, Gigantomachia is wonderfully contradictory. There is no way that someone could predict this movie or compare it to another. It is completely unpredictable, in a good way.

The only thing that could make this film better is additional time. Gigantomachia will leave viewers wanting more, but like the contradictory nature of the film, it is also very satisfying. It is heart wrenching, with an ending that will appropriately make viewers want to cry and applaud simultaneously. Gigantomachia is ingeniously clever, and it would be wonderful to see the film more widely recognized and celebrated.

About the Author:

Caress is a Chicagoan who has a deep fascination with film. Her love for movies began as an undergraduate at Roosevelt University, where her teacher suggested she write a movie review. Caress' favorite genres include indie dramas, foreign films, experimental films, and psychological thrillers. When she's not watching movies, Caress enjoys writing, photography, travel, fashion and music.
Filed in: Independent, Shorts

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