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October 19, 2006

Dark Waters


Mariano Baino - 1994
NoShame Films Region 0 DVD

Not to be confused with the Japanese Dark Water or its American remake, this is a film about some very strange nuns on an isolated island, complete with unusual rituals and some kind of creature in a locked room. Dark Waters begins with a young woman going on a trip to a very remote place by bus. Even without cross-cutting to the bizarre happenings at the monastery, there is enough to suggest that no good will come of this particular voyage.

Dark Waters begins with impressive scenes of a church besieged by water, a few steady drops growing into a destructive flood. There is very little dialogue in the first third of the film, perhaps echoing British actress Louise Salter's own sense of dislocation, filming in remote Ukraine. This is again an example where it is not the story that is of interest, renegade nuns has been established as a sub-genre, but Baino makes the film worth watching for the images. There is a sub-plot involving a painter in the monastery, and the film, like the paintings is awash in reds and blues.

Of as much or perhaps more interest is the story of the making of Dark Waters. NoShame includes among the extras a fifty minute documentary with Baino, Salter and several crew members recounting their misadventures making the film in Odessa and Kiev. Among the problems were missing cameras, not getting the scheduled studio space, securing film stock and mistranslations. For the hardcore collector there is a special edition DVD available that includes a replica of the amulet that is part of the story, plus a 48 page booklet. Mariano Baino also contributed a commentary track along with a video introduction that appears before his film.

Posted by Peter Nellhaus at October 19, 2006 10:25 AM