Way back in the deep cold month of February 2015 I wrote a blog article on a remarkable piece of film making from Aussie writer/director David King. In truth I found it difficult, albeit enjoyably so, to place it in any recognisable genre as it seemed part science fiction, part cyberpunk, part art house, part schlock horror and at least a dozen other influences lay within the film's consideration about what reality and illusion actually are. Watching Purge was a genuinely unusual experience. If you feel so inclined you can find the link to the article RIGHT HERE.
So it was with genuine interest when a little while ago David emailed me and asked me just how far my interest extends into art films. Did I go all the way to experimental? Or did I fear to go quite that far?
Now putting aside for a moment the minor fact that I've only ever been asked those questions in a court of law, well you should know me by now........ No! I'm not talking about that other matter! I'm currently bound by some pesky little legality apparently so I'm not allowed to talk about it. Besides which, how was I to know 39 emails a day counted as stalking and not a sign of admiration?
No, the thing that you should know about me is that I rarely can resist a challenge, especially when it concerns independent films. So in true 5D jumping before thinking form, I responded with a 'let's do this. Let's get experimental!'..... Or words to that effect.
Exit is David King's latest offering and certainly shares some of Purge's theme of the notion of what constitutes human reality and the concept of illusion. However that is where the comparison ends because this film has thrown aside any conventional mainstream movie luggage and taken a one-way trip aboard the experimental train on it's journey to the fabled city of deconstructed narrative and abstract imagery.
The synopsis of the story (and I use the term 'story' in the loosest sense) is thus;
"Y is immortal and lives in paradise. Or so he believes.
When paradise starts coming apart around him and he begins receiving messages from his dead wife, he realises he's either losing his mind........or nothing is what it seems."
I think it is fair to say that I haven't seen anything quite like EXIT for quite some some time. I also think that it is fair to say that it is an experience that will divide opinion of those who see it, something I could quite understand depending on what preconceptions a person may have beforehand. By 'preconceptions' I mean the notion of what should constitute as a film experience. The problem is that in this modern world of studio executive and audience focus group led cinema there is little room for ambitiously ambiguous narrative in film making. Every stage of mainstream movie making has to be neatly packaged with the requisite narrative arc together with it's neatly satisfying ending and thus accessible to the lowest common denominator. In other words, experimentation to the studios and consequently to many of the movie going public, is a definite no-no.
EXIT follows no linear trajectory in its 27 minute narrative, but instead relies on a series of connecting images and sounds that continually assault the viewers senses whilst simultaneously examining a plethora of philosophical ideas and questions of immortality, love and reality in the spaces in between.
But please don't be put off by such concepts as 'philosophical' and 'experimental'. I have watched the film twice now and in all honesty I'm still little the wiser about the answers to some of the questions raised, or whether in fact there are even any any answers or questions in the first place.
On both occasions of viewing the film I've broken off to do something else and returned a little while later to watch a new segment of intensive psychedelic and philosophical imagery. This isn't meant as a sign of criticism, on the contrary it should be regarded as a strength of the film. In other words, the choice is yours; you can either be swept along an existential journey of contemplation about what you are watching and hearing; or you can simply sit back and taking in the mind bending array of images and sounds as your senses real from the impact. You can watch it in one glorious mind goggling stretch, or you can take the assault on the senses piece by piece.
Whether you want to take a message from EXIT or simply enjoy the film for the visceral experience that it is is entirely up to you. What is clear is that there is still room in this audience focus group driven movie world to be given the chance to appreciate someone who wants to be bold and take chances with their art. You may not like or understand EXIT, but you certainly won't forget it. It is not David's intention to make this film for a mass audience, he knows full well that there will be many who do not want to to watch something as this. Instead he wanted to make a work of moving visual art intended for a smaller more select audience. Well this part of that niche audience loved it.
EXIT has been entered into a number of film festivals so watch this space for further news of when it may be seen. However, anyone interested in experimental film can contact David at his email address below to preview the film and purchase it from him directly if they wish. It is anticipated that the film will be available on Amazon in three - four months' time. Anyone who buys before it goes to Amazon will get the preview edition, but only a small number of DVDs will be printed at this price.
David King can be contacted via his email address at firstname.lastname@example.org