The Younesi Brothers are the kind of filmmakers you follow no matter what their next film is going to be. Akin to a Darren Aronofsky or Paul Thomas Anderson, they take filmmaking for the short subject to an auteur level which demands to be seen despite itʼs unmarketable running time. If I had my way, every film at theaters would be prefaced by a short film which it compliments cinematically, similar to a concert with an opening act. The Younesiʼs latest short is Look Not At The Mountains! and itʼs an intriguing piece of cinema.
Itʼs hard not to instantly relate it to other films similar in tone and concept, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood, respectively, but even if you werenʼt a fan of those, Look Not has itʼs own unique quality about it – and ambiance nearly. Itʼs a simple story, combining colonization and industrialization as its impetus, and I like the cold feeling it leaves you with even when every shot is steeped in warm sunshine.
Ultimately, the characters are a little two-dimensional, which is the only thing that detracts from the overall film. The story follows a group of men who are crossing the African desert, two of which appear to be British Anglo-saxons, the rest are indigenous people. While they all appear to have redeemable qualities, they are also all consumed by their own motives and this is where it gets good: for about half of the film, itʼs almost unapparent who is leading whom and for what reason.
With some POV camera work that almost feels Biblical at times, but yet so edgy and not Passion of Christ-y — I canʼt say that I wasnʼt totally engrossed, despite the overwrought lead performance. Whatʼs more, the pensive denouement and the big reveal, may, to some filmgoers (who are just looking for flash), go unappreciated, but I think itʼs the beauty of the unapologetic realism at the end the film which is most impressive. It leaves you sitting there, wanting to know more, wanting to get angry that it just cut to black, but then realizing that itʼs annoyingly and deceitfully perfect – because you already know what happens next.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Look Not At The Mountains! is not in theaters yet, but is expected to have its theatrical run early next year. In the meantime, you can watch a trailer and find out more here.