We’re all seekers.
Aria wants to reconnect with her far-flung friends Lyn, Mar, and Raya via correspondence as a way to dissect, share, and experience the art, geography, and philosophical ruminations their lives spark at any given moment. She labels this unofficial club the September Institute and begins her initial letter by talking about the writings of George Sand and dreams. The latter is a common theme as these four women become islands separated by time and space much like the landmasses upon which they reside (namely Manhattan, Majorca, and the San Francisco Bay area). Each locale is a creation of past and future with borders as volatile as fault-lines and serene as a rolling tide of water—dreamlands of awakening as the world revolves, evolves, and oftentimes stays the same.
This is the general conceit behind Renée Green’s Endless Dreams and Water Between. Using footage she shot at those three distinct places, she overlays the sound of water and wind with the words of these fictional women deciphering meaning in literature and existence. After a brief passage of third person introduction by the actors playing each role, the film moves into an epistolary format where every subsequent sequence responds to its predecessor. Green sprinkles in quotes from various sources alongside their insight, the words speaking to the images as complementary context for us to either grab hold of or let wash over us as a purely experiential endeavor. Being part of a larger museum piece, this makes sense. You enter a room, hear a snippet, and move on.
As a feature film, however, it becomes a spiritual undertaking wherein the serene landscapes, dulcet sounds, and monotone dialogue can and will lull you to sleep. Close your eyes and the cadence morphs these words into something akin to chant, my brain finding it difficult to parse what’s actually being said. Open them and the visuals of water on island shores moving back and forth or birds soaring through the sky steal your attention until your gaze moves in concert across the screen, begging them to close once again. I dozed off, but that’s almost the goal in some respect as Green layers too much information for a single viewing to earn comprehension. Rather than remember anything that’s said, I simply recall the quiet calm it all instilled.
Watched in conjunction with my Buffalo, NY film series Cultivate Cinema Circle.