Jury Prize, but also Critics’ Prize at the last Deauville festival, A Ghost Story was particularly discreet in France. It stands out …
Jury Prize, but also Critics’ Prize at the last Deauville festival, A Ghost Story was particularly discreet in France. However, he stands out for his modesty and originality.
There are works that it seems to us very difficult to classify in a defined genre. A Ghost Story is definitely one of them. Under its approach of classic horror film, mainly maintained by the eternal figure of the ghost present on the poster, Lowery’s feature film goes off the beaten track. However, it strictly respects the objective of its programmatic title: to tell us a story.
C (Casey Affleck) and M (Rooney Mara) are a happy couple in their country house. The day C dies in an accident, his ghost returns to their home. He watches the passing of time impassively, totally imperceptible to the eyes of the people.
If this scenario postulate left a door open to a hint of anguish, Lowery dismisses this possibility once again to move towards a drama with metaphysical accents. Far from making his film more accessible, the only fear that the American gives us is to give him falsely poseur attire.
The first half hour is not reassuring, and gives the impression of attending a summary of what the auteur film can have more excluding. The static shots of the empty house reinforce the feeling of loneliness, which serves the narrative. This is much less the case when the film inflicts a tasting pie on us for five long minutes.
This observation is reinforced by a staging with indie accents, which leads to melancholy. Lowery uses a 1.33: 1 aspect ratio and slightly washed out his image, sometimes giving the impression of watching slides.
The interiors are often crossed by a cold, clinical light, while the colors warm up slightly in the open air, resembling those of Lovers of Texas , his previous film. This cottony photograph finds its anchoring point in the character of the ghost, simply represented by a sheet and two black holes.
By breaking free from all rules, Lowery infuses the latter with a disturbing humanity. One is thus surprised to sympathize with a piece of cloth suspended in the middle of a room. This extreme sobriety makes us guess the emotions behind the fabric. It alone represents the modesty of a project that cost only $ 100,000.
Mute and expressionless, this ghost in no way provokes the fear associated with its popular imagery. The director also takes the opportunity to give his vision of the paranormal manifestations usually represented in horror films, linking them intimately to anger and mourning. Spectator of the life of the different tenants who inhabit his old house, he collects the words of the inhabitants to give meaning to his wandering.
It is then that the film really takes off, by chaining the ellipses. Without revealing too much, the last half hour takes on the appearance of a poetic fable about love, death and the sense of time.
This daring reflection summons the ideas of other works like Interstellar or The Fountain with infinitely less means, but much more humility.
Daniel Hart’s music is a wonderful accompaniment to this sensory journey that a certain Terrence Malick would not deny. If it requires a little effort from the viewer, this ghost film is far from invisible.