The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers | Chicago Reader

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Writer-director-cinematographer Ben Rivers credits Pere Portabella’s Cuadecuc-Vampir (1971) as an inspiration for this stunning experimental film, which blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction. The first half features behind-the-scenes footage of Spanish filmmaker Oliver Laxe shooting Mimosas in Morocco; in the second half, Laxe, playing a version of himself, becomes the protagonist in an adaptation of the Paul Bowles story “A Distant Episode.” The images, captured with a 16-millimeter Bolex, are uncommonly beautiful, even for such famously photogenic locations as the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert, but the stark imagery is more than matched by the grim narrative, which subverts the notion of European superiority over a once-colonized Africa. In English and subtitled Arabic, French, and Spanish.

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