REVIEW: SUGGESTIVE GESTURES (2013)

Suggestive Gestures 1

Nikola Gocić reviews Suggestive Gestures, 2013, directed by David Finkelstein 

A musician and performance artist since 1982 and a film director since 2000 onward, David Finkelstein is inspired by the likes of Meredith Monk when it comes to experimental theater, he cites Sergei Parajanov’s, Ulrike Ottinger’s and the Kuchar brothers’ works as his cinematic influences and his “extremely eclectic musical tastes range from Hendel to Chopin to Talking Heads and electronic dance”. Since 1992, he has focused on improvised performances, with parts thereof included in his experimental videos, both live- action and animated ones, which have been presented at numerous festivals around the globe, winning several awards. His first and, so far, only feature Suggestive Gestures is based on Gertrude Stein’s suggestion that “language could be used to create a landscape, rather than tell a story”.

And a story is something you won’t get here, at least not in a traditional sense of the term. Instead, you will be treated to sumptuous inner landscapes which will provide you with a sensory experience you won’t easily forget. A revelatory, revolutionary musical fantasy, Suggestive Gestures opens with the soothing sound of water gradually flowing into an equally calming instrumental. One minute into the film and you are already hypnotized. After the corridors of a circular labyrinth become illuminated, you are guided through it by David Finkelstein himself and actress Cassie Terman, whose words, occasionally sung, give rhythm to this subconscious adventure through the forests of abstract patterns. In a weirdly anachronistic phantasmagoria, Greek mythology clashes and intertwines with modern art in what looks like a vintage computer generated animation of flat textures and strong colors. Fragments of art history become alive right before your eyes, a gryphon flies by the window, mountains of stained glass rise and lemons grow inside glass pyramids. All the while, mental images introduce a whale the size of a pea, mystical miasma with an apple upon it and twenty sleeping bears around a lost woman.