Monday, October 21, 2013

ImagineNATIVE Festival Film Review - Soli

Directed by Adrienne Marcus Raja's Soli follows a mythical figure representing the Sun and choice. Sole (Chris Riley) interacts with various individuals as they are faced with critical choices. Among them a card reader, a writer with a severe case of writers block, a composer and a woman who is contemplating suicide by jumping into a lake. The short is rich with colour with yellow naturally being the main one featured throughout the piece. Sole is dressed in yellow and the production features many shots of a calm lake full of yellow boats that begin to be joined by black ones as the frustration of the characters grow.

As he visits the players in the short Sole does not offer any influence either to do good or bad but remains neutral and with a flip of his ever present coin inspired by Sol Invictus and reminiscent of Two Face from Batman fame lets the characters choose their fate. Shot in vibrant 16 millimetre in and around the Greater Toronto Area Director Raja creates a magical world full of bright colours but with an undercurrent of darkness signally frustration and the possibility of negative choices. The film featuring eight different set locations and several distinct characters that could easily be lengthened from its 10 minute run time for a more in depth exploration. Soli is first-rate effort from emerging film maker Raja an artist to track for future projects.

 Soli | Adrienne Marcus Raja | Canada | 2013|

Interview with Soli Director Adrienne Marcus Raja

Flick Hunter Question:  What is the origin/idea for the short and explain the significance of Sol Invictus.

Adrienne Marcus Raja Answer:  The Roman Coin's solider has a helmet and Spear. The lead character in Soli has a Top Hat and Cane.

Yellow played a big part in the Malaysian elections, yellow meant fair/ neural no favour to either side. Burish 3.0 rallies featured yellow tee-shirts, government forces cracked down arresting people for wearing them and even having them in their luggage.

FH Q Speak to to significance of Light vs Darkness and loneliness vs being alone in the short.

AMR A.  Light/yellow represents good positive thoughts and ideas while darkness/black signifies frustrations and bad thoughts to the negative side of neutral.

FHQ  Discuss your choice to cast Chris Riley as your lead actor Soli.

AMR A I did not know Chris he was a friend of a friend that I found on Facebook.   My thoughts on the Character Soli originated with the Old Georgie character in Cloud Atlas.  I thought Chris could play the part so I messaged him on Facebook He did not have a beard as he does in the film. He is a musician by trade a bassist in the Heavy metal band AXXION.  The rest of the actors in the film are from my circle of friends.

FH Q Can you talk a bit about your involvement in different production areas?

AMR A I was involved in all aspects of the production. I did all of the costumes and even played my own prop department as I personally crumpled all of the black paper that you see on screen to represent the frustrations of both the writer and the composer.

FH Q The film has multiple locations which is unusual for this length of short can you talk about the set choices.

AMR The film has 8 sets. We shot at Toronto City hall but had an 11AM deadline to complete as we had to be out before the start of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival that day.  The set for the calm lake with Yellow and black boats was at Stoney Lake near Peterborough Ontario. We had planned to film at Kew Beach for the potential suicide scene but our permit was not approved. My Producer Chantal Whitter made a quick call to Mississauga and we rushed out to find a reasonable replacement location obtaining a permit to shoot there in 24 hours.

FH Q  There are so many characters and settings here  it appears to be enough of a foundation  here to lengthen the production.

AMR A I'm working on the script to increase the story there are a lot of areas that can be expanded to create a longer film.

FH Q What is your next project? Are you working on  an ideas?

AMR A I have an idea to do a short film in Malaysia on the traditional hats called Peta's that are passed down from generation to generation. As they are passed along the recipient alters or adds to the beaded hat considering that peoples heads come in all different shapes and sizes.

FH: Thank you Adrienne for taking the time to talk to us.

AMR:  Thank you for coming to see and talking to me about my film.