Film Review: “Beneath the Snow – Piovono Ombre” (Gothic Multimedia Project, Italy)


What does a multi-media art gallery have in common with an old, haunted movie theater?

Completely off the path we travel to Italy for a film review.  As it were, the guys behind this company found me entirely by accident given the name of the film and the blog.

“Gothic” is a dark avant-garde multimedia project founded in 1989 in Genova, Italy, having released ten demos as a band (1989-2000) and four huge official multimedia works as a multimedia ensemble (2001-2017).

To be honest, this work of art was very much a challenge to review.  Because of the fact that it was a mammoth underground achievement involving the collective work of 48 individuals, I wanted to do it justice.  The thing about Beneath the Snow-Piovono Ombre is that it is nearly easier to discuss what the piece is not as opposed to what it is.  So the review is more about luring you, the viewer to check this out by talking about the film’s uniqueness and the abstract vs. specificity.

If you are looking for a Sunday afternoon film to just turn on so you can forget about the world and not “think,” then forget it.  This isn’t your thing.  Go watch “Karate Kid” or “Shrek” for the 150th time.

You see, the fault of most many film viewers I feel is that they get caught up in the concept of budget.  Forget the concept of art for art’s sake.  Many are just concerned about how much something cost; if it was high-budget or a “B-movie.”

Toss all that out for the time being.

It should be understood above all, that Beneath the Snow-Piovono Ombre is basically split into two parts, Part “Snow” and Part “Night.”  Aside from that, you could be watching the lucid dreams of a paranoid schizophrenic.  Don’t worry.  That’s a good thing and partially what makes this film interesting.  In reality, the project is composed of stories within a story and multimedia within film.

From the booklet:

“This is neither a game nor a film, nor a sheer collection of musical video-art pieces; it’s all of them and more…As soon as you will delve into the mysterious meanings and into the esoteric symbols, you will cross the line between knowledge and spiritual enlightenment.” (p. 5)

Aesthetically, one of the things that I loved about Beneath the Snow-Piovono Ombre is that it completely destroyed the rule book.  Gothic employs various methods including film layers, still image gallery inclusion, screens in screen, various camera affects (i.e. split-screen/fuzz effects/negative imaging to name a few).  It is features such as those which keep the viewer interested.

The very best part of the film is the fact that you nearly see something new each time you watch the film.  Why?  Because each time the adventure is nearly different.

Yes, the defining feature of  Beneath the Snow-Piovono Ombre is that you, the viewer get to choose at certain points what the next action of the film would be.  Do you take a phone call or no?  Do you hide in an abandoned shed or run?  Do you give to a beggar or leave them be?  You’ve just been hit with a dead-end so now you have to go back.  I’ve been through this DVD several times and am still finding new possibilities.

Art snob section: The film’s producer gets extra credit from me for referencing a picture by Russian Suprematist painter, Kasemir Malevich.

There are only a handful of segments where there is language spoken.  In such cases, the language of course is Italian but translated with English subtitles.  The acting is fine for a release of this nature.  Regarding the music; it is not continuous throughout the film,  which again, is fine due to the fact that this is not your normal film.  The music that is included in some of the parts are placed appropriately so along with their respective scenes.  Piovono Ombre is, again pretty much stories within stories under the two big “parts,” Snow and Night.  

But really the most artistically effective parts of this release are those where there is no dialog or no music.  That allows the viewer to focus more on the over-all conceptual and artistic elements of the film.  The over-all ambiance is fairly dark and often disturbing but extremely interesting nonetheless.

There is no reason why Piovono Ombre shouldn’t be developing a healthy cult following or even inspiring other underground film-makers.  There is quite-simply just nothing like it out there right now.  It is a HUGE achievement for such an underground company who has worked harder than most are capable of.  I’d definitely recommend this piece not for everyone but for those of you, lovers of underground cinema that are focused more on the art form rather than budget.

Piovono Ombre is available on DVD directly from Gothic.  DVD is compatible with ALL worldwide DVD players and PC disc-drives.

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