Spaniard Lois Patiño is an artist first, a filmmaker second. No, that’s not quite right. The two are intertwined. But Patiño creates what might best be called slow cinema—a static, voyeuristic unfolding of a prosaic or everyday scene. If there’s meaning, or depth, it’s up to you to find it. Patiño trains his long, long lens—the shimmering images suggest his subject is as far away as the moon—and what happens happens at a distance, in real time. Skiers skin slowly up a hill, they schuss down a cirque, they ride a lift in the fog.
This is what Patiño says about Mountain in Shadow:
Contemplative look towards the snowy mountain and skiers activity on it.
The vastness of space contrasts with the insignificant that people looks like, almost invisible by distance.
Starting from the white snow, the image of the film becomes increasingly darker, transforming the space into something unreal, dreamlike and spectral. Also approaching its appearance to the image of a model artificially iluminated. Where skiers are merely points in the distance, sliding in an hypnotic movement. Also the image is flattened at times, losing all deep in search of a pictorial abstraction.
This play with the perception of the scales, where the immensity of the mountain ends muddling up with the vision of a microscope, will go forward with the development of the film. This treatment also allows landscape viewing as a tactile experience: emphasizing the snow texture, confusing its matter and the space dimensions. Experiencing landscape image as something tangible: a tactil vision.
But finally, the view that we propose is identified in some way, with a possible view of the mountain from the summit, who observes men sliding by their mountainsides, like insects on the skin of an animal.
It’s the kind of film that demands the right frame of mind—the one you’d have in an art museum or after a couple of glasses of red wine or a deep, fat bowl. At times, these scenes of tiny little people moving around the mountains seem profound, at others…meh. But they’re always pretty. And thanks to Patiño for making us stop, look, and consider.