A Mystery Inside of a Fact

Rental Format(s): 16mm film / Digital File

It arrives, in a fog, with songs, through dance or majestic animals or faces (gliding on the street), and in shapes of light, maybe on a large bird of prey in flight--gesture skyward. Some origins can be difficult to pinpoint, others blink back--infinitely. - JS

A Mystery Inside of a Fact's sounds and images rise from fathomless depths. The film was shot in India, but its subjects are unmoored from ethnography. Low-angle shots of a coxswain set the course for the film: its unseen current and dark swells. A woman's voice reflects on the elephant's capacity for self-awareness, suffering, and suicide, while superimpositions picture the animal as a wandering soul. Fifteen years ago, Schwartz was in India recording sound for Kolkata (2001), a miraculous actualité film made by Mark LaPore, a beloved filmmaker and teacher who ended his own life in 2005. That film climaxes with a breathtaking tracking shot through the city's streets, a river of life punctured by flashes of self-consciousness, but Schwartz's camera stays to the side of the road. A boy flashes a peace sign--cut. Another dances in a darkened room--cut. The soundtrack is someplace else: every shot an interior, no matter the setting. Vashti Bunyan's "I Don't Know What Love Is" finally emboldens the camera to take cover in a couple's embrace. Bunyan's demo, recorded when she was in her early twenties, breaks its own heart at the thought of a lover's inevitable departure. Schwartz approaches it from the other side of loss. The logic by which A Mystery Inside of a Fact arrives at this tender coda remains obscure, but its necessity shines through. - Max Goldberg

Rental Fees

16mm film $68.00  
Digital File $68.00  

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