Delicate and slightly surreal, "Walking Stories" is a romantic comedy directed by Luca Guadagnino (Melissa P, I Am Love) who narrates a life changing trip full of surprising coincidences, ... See full summary »
Emma left Russia to live with her husband in Italy. Now a member of a powerful industrial family, she is the respected mother of three, but feels unfulfilled. One day, Antonio, a talented chef and her son's friend, makes her senses kindle.
No direct spoilers but reading the long version might impact viewing experience.
In short: If you played the game Backpacker and liked it this might give you that same feeling it was intended to give - of discovery while on a journey.
In long: Maybe just a story about a girl (woman) on a special day. Maybe a life passing by as the final moments of it approach. A note in itself for your discovery that started (read; starts) "here" where you are, one light - one life.
For me the symbolism seems to stem from the second part. The waves erasing the tracks in the sand, the bright dress - it draws connotation to Tabula Rasa (every person comes into this world as an empty slate). The memories shown and cinematography seems quite similar to Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004) but without the same cynicism, it seems as more of a comment that it is a journey to embrace and go on rather then one to be forced into.
It is cinematographically capturing, still shots of beautiful sentimental frames that captures moods of exploration, slow pans that follows the subject into the new frame where new environments await - that instills traveling or going on a journey. For me this style of shooting is clearly chosen intentional and made to emphasize the plot without affecting the silent story. I also liked most of the composition of the movie. The downplayed soundtrack with clear environmental sounds draws you into the mood. The lighting is pretty much perfect throughout (no matter if it's waiting for natural light or not).
Pro's Well directed - overall simply well made. It still contains an element of playfulness or rather enjoyment which really raises this up above others similar shorts.
Con's Instrumental music could have been very suitable at some point. One or two "flashy" (moreso) shots of empty exotic environments (destitute or constructed) could have been used to effect (yes, that could impact the symbolism negatively if done badly). The transitions were not always smooth, which goes against the earlier expression - slightly better (read; smoother) transitions would impact positively.
End notes: Why so many negatives? Because it wasn't that far from perfection for what it is presenting. Someone might call it pretentious, I wouldn't because to me it seems clear that this is about a journey - even if it is not the one intended. For those who like similar movies they can be found here and there; as wide apart on the spectrum as Mikra Anglia (2013), Melancholia (2011) to cinematographically (at times) Spring Breakers (2012).
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