Salem, who hails from Réunion off the eastern coast of Madagascar, is a transfixing screen presence, and the final scene, in which she and two musicians wake the spirits with a Reunionese maloya, is great fun in the most basic sense – it’s one hell of a performance – but it’s also charged with an uncanny sense that the material world really might crack open before us.
The pathos of a daughter seeking a father is worthy of a classical tragedy, while the simplicity of the framing—close-up portraits against monotone background—recalls the stark elegance of Pedro Costa’s films, especially his latest, Horse Money.
In terms of pacing, construction, and its phatic, off-kilter mode of address, Cilaos resembles eminent Land masses such as Wide Angle Saxon and On the Marriage Broker Joke, even as Restrepo's openness to pure performativity bears traces of Claire Denis' great music documentary Man No Run. And for what it's worth, if anyone ever moves forward with a live-action Steven Universe project, Salem is shy just one pair of wrap-around shades, and Garnet is cast.
100 of 3 reviews