Shot on digital video in high-contrast black-and-white, this uncompromising existential parable from German auteur Fred Kelemen (Frost, Abendland) concerns a lonely Latvian archivist Matiss (Egons Dombrovskis), who is consumed by guilt at failing to prevent a stranger from apparently taking her own life by jumping from a bridge. ‘Man has lost his way - we are living like animals’, is the gloomy observation of the vodka-swilling investigating detective (Vigo Roga), who deals with 700 suicides a year. Matiss takes it upon himself to investigate the disappeared woman’s life, and after discovering undeveloped photos and love letters in her handbag, learns that she had been conducting an affair with a Russian lover (Nikolaj Korobov).
Echoing Antonioni’s Blow Up and photographed in long takes reminiscent of Kelemen’s mentor Bela Tarr, Krisana unfolds in an eerily deserted and shadowy Riga, with an expressive soundtrack of barking dogs, screeching gulls and rumbling industrial machinery amplifying the enveloping mood of despair. This is unabashedly austere, contemplative filmmaking, illustrating how in interpreting the world we create our own illusions and providing spectators with the most desolate closing image of the year.
GFT, Glasgow on Wed 15 and Thu 16 Nov only. Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Mon 27-Thu 30 Nov only.