BY BLAINE MCLAREN
The world of film has been an evolving place recently. As the distribution and method of viewing changes, so does the limitation of choices. A few years back I never would have been able to see an independent film from Bangalore with just a couple of clicks. Santosh MP’s ultra-meta thriller (“A ‘Pitch-Dark’ Diorama”) is a unique film that asks some dark questions and never offers any easy answers. Santosh blends many genres, adding to the mystery and confusion. The film’s primary question is; can you believe in your characters so much (in a story) that they actually die in an alternate reality?
The story begins with a horror writer who is scouring for the right twist to complete his latest novel, ‘Pitch-Dark’. In alternate realities, the story’s characters (inside of the novel) are living out their own lives and trying to meet their ends. These separate worlds include an ambitious detective, a controlling director and a “past his prime” author. We interweave their lives and try to find the truth and explore the concept of fate.
As convoluted as my description sounds, the film deals with its themes masterfully. You do spend the first half hour confused, but the confusion only adds to the mystery and payoff. I watched the film on YouTube and it was broken down into episodes and this may have helped with the transitions from reality to reality. Towards the end, the film really dives deeper and deeper into its existential quarries and this is where the film shines the most. We are lead down separate routes and given hints, but when we finally come face-to-face with the “Author” the film explodes into an experimental masterpiece of storytelling. I know that I am speaking in very vague terms and I do that very intentionally. Giving away any details or clues would do the film injustice and I suggest watching this movie as blindly as possible. All in all, if you are looking for something highly original and don’t mind getting more questions than answers, then I suggest checking this movie out right away. “A ‘Pitch-Dark’ Diorama” is currently available on YouTube and Vimeo in a “pay what you want” format.