Turtles Are Always Home Screen 5 articles

Turtles Are Always Home


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  • Sometimes all a film has to do is to provide a clear, coherent study of an unusual, intellectually suggestive piece of architecture. Cinema is a very good tool for describing spaces, and a talented maker can articulate both the human-scaled and the gargantuan through angle, framing, and especially camera movement... We can add Rawane Nassif’s lovely Turtles Are Always Home to this list.

  • Nassif sings over the final shot, reinforcing the metaphor of the film’s title. She trains her camera on the art-directed photos of light-skinned models and luxury goods that shroud the windows of empty storefronts, and then, by pulling focus or tracking backward, brings her own reflection into relief. It’s an uncanny and bracing viewing experience that manifests the simultaneous pleasure, melancholy, and anxiety of dislocation.

  • This is the kind of work in which the question “What am I looking at?” is encouraged, the answer eventually provided, often by the camera itself: there’s a lot of slow zooms out from display windows that clarify what’s reflection of what’s behind the camera, and what true background/foreground relationships are. It’s all pretty stunning.

  • Further highlights include Rawane Nassif’s ingeniously framed Turtles Are Always Home, shot among the ersatz Venetian canals of Doha’s “Quanat Quartier,” which finds countless fresh variations on the theme of photographic and architectural illusionism in the course of twelve minutes.

  • A hypnotic and formally accomplished work that deftly combines elements of structuralism and observational filmmaking in an intimate meditation on displacement... Nassif’s silhouette can be glimpsed on occasion as she quietly operates the camera, her ghostly visage given life first through shadow and finally through song as she gently sings of an itinerant existence.