TALKING GRASS ibm   We all know by know that new technology open up all kinds of possibilities to us, even if we are not the best at using them. The tools are, above all, for communicating, documenting, learning and investigating. But, they can also be used to create art, that is if you know how to use them, of course.
This time round, it's the digital camera, commonplace these days, that brings us that little bit close to the seventh art form. Until recently you need the most expensive of equipment to make cinema. You needed money (mountains of the stuff) to be able to make cinema. But this wonderful new tool called the digital camera has thrown open the doors of film-making. It allows for experimentation, thus, it gives you the chance to create art.
The thing is, it provides you with the chance to work out the conditions set down by the cinema industry. The objective is to create. We'll see about the rest later. That way there isn't so much pressure, and there are no conditions imposed by production. No censorship. Of course, you need talent as well as a digital camera.
Koldo Almendoz has proved in his third short film that he has got talent to burn. If we take his talent and add it to his understanding of film language and the wonderful attitude of the people involved in this, you get a great moving story out of the whole thing.
Belarra has been made without any economic pre-conditions, loads of imagination and by people who know what they are doing. It's a pleasure to see how well they have used the chosen tool. They know they're using digital and they know the possibilities that it offers. They certainly make the most of them. I mean, you'd have to be a right gobshite to try and achieve the same affect and texture as an oil painting while using a pencil.
There is no script in the film. The characters don't say a word. The camera tells us the story. It lets us know everything we need to. We know we have professionals who are totally in control here.
They are really into what they do. There are no time limits, and, what's more important, there are no production limits. There are no commercial restrictions.
The expressive language of film-making is used beautifully here. Look no further that the different takes and editing they have used to distinguish between the different parts, people and moments of the story. We come across a long and slow and well put together sequence for a woman. The man's is quicker and more violent. The child's is more restless. The grass's, alive. In this way we can clearly perceive the different traits of each character. Each sequence is afforded its own tempo and rhythm. Not too much and not too short. Exactly what each part and section demands.
The comic-book element to the film is very interesting. All lot of the different sequences are like comic strips. You can easily tell that people from Napartheid have been really involved in the making of the film. You don't normally get to see this type of cinema.
As far as sound is concerned, we'd have to underline just how well silence (not the lack of sound!) has been used. That and how the scenes are slowly filled with information as the sound steadily increases. The sound here is used for a reason. It certainly gets the results it aimed for.
We also have to mention the digital and technical aspect of the film; the way images have been worked on. The final colours and filters on display are the result of a lot of experimentation. They've got this one right as well
There's surrealist touch to the whole thing. Actually, more than surrealist, it's an no-real touch that's added. This makes it much easier for us to understand the story. The grass has the most colour, the most strength. More than anybody or anything else. Just as nature does over man. It's also beautiful.
It's undeniable that talent is the basis of art and professionalism that of a job well done. Belarra has them both down to a T.