AKA: L’Immobilità Trafigge
An amateur photographer goes for a walk in the countryside where he comes across a small, discarded mannequin. As the filmmaker starts to shoot video of his find, he discovers that his camera suddenly seems to be haunted by an unknown man in black garb who shows the videographer flashbacks of butterflies and stone chimeras. But as the photographer continues to view the images before him, he finds he’s transitioning from a viewer of the story, to part of the story instead.
Piercing Stillness is an Italian short film from 2019. Clocking in at less than 5-minutes, this may be one of the shortest shorts I’ve yet watched. In fact, it’ll likely take you longer to get through this than it would be for you to just go and watch the film yourself. But despite the film’s incredibly brief runtime it does manage to get it’s point across. Assuming of course that the audience is receptive enough to digest it.
Piercing Stillness is, without a doubt, what one would categorize as an “art” film. It’s short, yes, but it’s also silent, in black and white, and filled with a lot of symbolism. At one point the photographer wanders an open field with a net, collecting butterflies. But they are not real butterflies. They are instead paper cutouts of butterflies that he is chasing around. Once “caught”, our bug enthusiast then takes the paper cut outs of the butterflies and mounts them on a board to display. The collector is, quite literally, piercing the insects with stillness in order to create art. But the butterflies were already still to begin with. Is it a comment on life and death, or the artist’s willingness to create something they deem beautiful, even at the cost of something’s life? Who knows. That is left up to the viewer to decide. As is the film’s rather ambiguous ending and the significance of the chimera. Is it symbolic of the two men, who are perhaps two halves of the same whole? Or is it using the lesser known definition of chimera, which is: an illusion or fabrication of the mind? Suggesting that the entire film is one large hallucination? The answer isn’t clear. The only thing that ends up being clear is that both men in the film, regardless of their possible connection or motives, end up being captured in the same setting that they both tried to capture themselves.
So you’re saying I’m stuck in this barren field forever? Lovely…
The film is beautifully shot, utilizing sharp angles, unique imagery and high contrast to show emphasis and tell the story without a single word of dialogue. Everything is crisp and clean and lovely to look at, even though you may not always be able to tell why you’re looking at something or what it’s significance is to the overall story being told. And though brief, the acting is powerful and expressive, a great necessity in a silent production such as this.
You think he’s excited? I think he’s excited.
Piercing Stillness ends up being a beautiful, but odd little film. It certainly is quite lovely to look at, but it’s also a prime example of an “art” film, so the movie isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s a film filled with striking imagery and ambiguity. Though there is a story here, much of the meaning is left to the viewer’s own imagination, and many of the film’s elements could be interpreted in several different ways. At less than 5 minutes, I’d say it’s worth a watch for the visuals alone. But if you’re they type of person who prefers a straight-forward story and not the type who likes to decode meanings, then you might want to search elsewhere.
Piercing Stillness is available for streaming on Amazon Prime.
As of right now I can not find any sort of physical release.