Beyond the Clouds
Beyond the Clouds
2016. Directed by Sourab Kumar
One of the humbling privileges of being an aspiring critic is getting to review the work of your friends. Sourab Kumar blessed me with an opportunity to view his upcoming short film Beyond the Clouds and aside from the amazing opportunity, it was a sublime cinematic experience.
An existential love letter and a soulful rumination on destiny and loss, Beyond the Clouds is the story of a photographer who grapples with his inability to grasp the happiness that he can seamlessly capture on film. It chronicles his bereft childhood and his maturation into a soulful artist desperately seeking a connection as a means to define existence itself.
This is a heavy film with beautiful imagery that evokes a Malick-esque approach to the material. The splendor is life itself, not the promise of what lies beyond. Wonder is in every frame, featuring beautiful captures of a deluged umbrella, cascading waves upon rocks, and the haunting ardor of a woman's soulful gaze. Water and the ocean are almost characters, representing the destructive and sometimes healing forces of nature that always beyond our control, despite our endless admiration and attempts at mastery.
If there is a weakness it in the films lack of trust in it's visuals. The photographer's narration is excessive at times, robbing the viewer of the chance to form their own conclusions about the tribulations they are witnessing. This flaw however, is easily forgiven as the film's moody presentation overshadows it with a simple and poignant message about appreciating the present, for it is truly the world's greatest gift.
Being unfamiliar with the cultural references, I wondered throughout my viewing how much of a controversial statement this film was making. It eschews all divine relations in favor of fate and man's lack of control over his surroundings. This is a story about things being exactly what they are and humanity is but a piece on the chessboard of the universe. Despite this almost nihilistic treatise, Beyond the Clouds defies convention to remind us that while things are what they are, we are never truly alone in the human experience and one fateful encounter can change our course forever.
Coming soon to a festival near you, if you get a chance to view this remarkable effort, do so. Beyond the Clouds is a 15 minute odyssey of the soul that is a rewarding visual mediation on life and it's infinite mysteries.