Before We Vanish by Luke Gorham Film

Pendular | Julia Murat

November 20, 2018

Julia Murat’s Pendular is film filled with impressive compositions: it opens with its central couple — credited as He (Rodrigo Bolzan) and She (Raquel Karro) — jointly and joyously bisecting a large warehouse’s upper-story with a roll of red tape. This space, which will serve as both home and studio for the lovers (He an abstract sculptor, She a modernist dancer) acts as a simple visual metaphor for their relationship: issues of emotional encroachment and loss of independence define the characters in Murat’s sparse script. Unfortunately, little happening here expands this idea — with an affectively forceful performance and some captivating choreography from Karro providing the exceptions.

The film is undermined by its fundamental inequity: She is gifted a far richer, more expressive arc, leaving her partner feeling wrongly underdeveloped. If Murat had sought to reflect deeper on her exploration of space or her characters’ art, something bolder and less reliant on tangible characterization could have emerged; instead, He is directionless, She is indulgent — so an art critic friend tells him, so a newspaper review tells her. Murat clearly seeks to externalize this couple’s turmoil, but beyond a Footloose-esque cathartic dance (after which She literally strips herself bare), we’re left with few incisive moments amid much tedium.

Published as part of New Directors/New Films 2017 | Dispatch 2.