GoCritic! Capsule Review: A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts
- We review the winner of Best Croatian Film Award at Animafest Zagreb
Brilliance is in the eye of the beholder. This could be the premise of A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts (Estonia/Croatia), the new film by Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, which received the Best Croatian Film Award at Animafest Zagreb last week.
This oddly impressive film consists of a fragmented narrative with at least four different storylines and features unlikely protagonists who will all eventually meet. It all begins with a crowd of identical-looking men in suits who act bored until another man is born, wearing a slightly different suit. First, they applaud him for trivial gestures such as lifting his arm in a theatrical manner, then they discard him when he makes a mistake. They’re in good company: the film’s other characters - including a very romantic exhibitionist and two men sharing the same body but having highly different interests - engage in further nonsensical, absurd activities also.
A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts is an entertaining tour-de-force of digital animation that keeps the audience constantly on its toes. Moreover, there are numerous self-aware and ironic references to contemporary Estonian animation such as Sander Joon’s Velodrool (2016), Chintis Lundgren’s Life with Herman H. Rott (2015) or Kaspar Jancis’ Crocodile (2009). Whereas the film’s timing, animation style and the opaque storytelling are highly indebted to one of the most prolific Estonian filmmakers Priit Pärn, the film looks to Lundgren in terms of humour and its portrayal of kinky desire. This is no coincidence: Pärn, Lundgren, Jancis and many others were also on the production team of this film. With this unmissable nod to its creative origins and surroundings, A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts can be understood as both an homage and an ironic comment on the art and film world where the attribution of brilliance is random, highly subjective and often totally absurd.
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