Published Jan 29, 2013Told entirely in voiceover with images and sounds adding a meditative feeling to the comprehensive, experiential verbalizations, The Meteor melds the ephemeral nature of life and the deceptiveness of time with a story of a man incarcerated for manslaughter.
These voiceovers jump between Pierre, the man jailed for fourteen years; his mother, an 80-year-old woman with no delusions about living to see her son free again; his wife, Suzanne, a woman conflicted about moving on with her own life in her husband's absence; and a prison guard, who discusses the misanthropic nature of working in a prison environment every day.
Juxtaposed with these voiceovers, which touch on the intimate, personal feelings that visual imagery is unable to capture, are still moments from each character's life—without dialogue—as well as the haunting, stirring images of the quotidian. Clouds, machinery, statues and sunsets frame the words gorgeously transposing a poetic feeling to the text that transcends the core story of a crime suddenly changing the lives of many. The Meteor is more interested in the nature of living, whether it be guilt or self-delusion or the quiet pain of acknowledging one's own limitations or disappointments.
This avoidance of a traditional narrative or story does ultimately limit, or at least specify, the viewing audience. But anyone interested in the cinematic medium as a vessel of transposing reality and capturing a feeling rather than a fact, might appreciate images of landscapes and appropriately washed-out stills while hearing about prison rape and suicide.
These characters are each given their own voice and motivations separate from each other. They can only speculate about each other's feelings and motivations, confined to their own existence, which is somewhat of an impossibility in a traditional film where visual reactions and first-person conversation make their experience shared in the eyes of a passive viewer.
Heartbreak, hope, guilt and defeat are captured amidst these words and visuals, reaching beyond the core story of a man jailed for a stupid mistake. These very personal stories give us a comprehensive portrait of each person beyond the immediate moments and plot points, touching on what it means to be a conflicted human, trying to make the best of a life that isn't always ideal.
There's something very moving about The Meteor, Francois Delisle's humble, poetic work of mortal awareness that lingers long after the final, beautiful images fade. It's just unfortunate that its lack of convention makes for a very limited audience. (FunFilm)