Highlight – Equilibrium (South Africa)

In one of those synchronicities that seems like it may possibly be meaningful, we received two films called Equilibrium this year, though they are very different from one another. This review highlights the short film Equilibrium directed by Paballo Mokwena from South Africa.

Equilibrium manages to interweave many complexities into its five-minute running time. I was initially taken with its beautiful photography and the unique tone of the film, which was experimental and dreamlike, even though I didn’t fully understand it. I had gathered that the young woman photographer seemed to have the ability to release another, darker side of herself using the camera. One of the pieces I didn’t put together is that the camera had been passed down in her family and carried with it generational trauma. In order to heal, it was necessary for the young character in the film to acknowledge and accept the trauma as part of her past and as part of who she was. Once she did so, she would be able to find the necessary balance to accept and re-create herself. “Death is life’s grand gesture at rebirth,” the film says in its description.

This reading is all fairly simplistic when compared with Paballo’s explanation of the film in her interview, which is much more eloquent and nuanced. You can check out Equilibrium in Shorts Block No. 3 in the virtual festival: https://watch.eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022/play/633f0a9d4714100092379789

You can check out our interview with Paballo on the Interviews page here: https://mentalfilmness2022.eventive.org/films/eventive.org/mentalfilmness2022interivews

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