Available on Kinet
Ocean Falls, directed by Ryan Ermacora and Jessica Johnson, is one of the four films featured in the inaugural program from Kinet; a new website dedicated to premiering and disseminating avant-garde cinema run by filmmakers Isaac Goes and Kurt Walker. The film, a short clocking in at 13 minutes, unfurls like a photo album perusal as historical document and/or essay as stagnant frames capture the vacant landscapes of a once, bustling company town in the Cousins Inlet of British Columbia. The 16mm facade delighting in the convergence of vegetation that has reclaimed the abandoned buildings and desolate factories, gently swaying in the breezes blowing through the open lobbies as if in performance; unused window panes nothing more than frames for the persevering picturesque.
Ermacora and Johnson possess quite an eye for framing the surrounding scenery of Ocean Falls. Each shot increasingly more pleasing than the preceding as their camera fixates on the happenings of nature and the passing of time – foggy cloud cover climbing its way up the face of an arborocean, the serene waters gracing the feet of the mountainous shoreline or, even the more recognizable sequence of the wake created amidst mechanical retreat while the receding terrain looms immovable.
There is enough here in terms of sheer natural beauty that supplying these images with context is essentially unnecessary yet welcomed as they proceed to attach some historical perspective to the barren buildings through the use of interview audio of a resident, regaling the filmmakers (presumably) with tales of rebellion. The man, perched on the edge of a wooden structure, his voice detached from his movements, speaks of the old community and their penchant for fooling the meter-readers as well as tales of his own perilous activities.
With Ocean Falls, Ermacora and Johnson present the lifecycle of an ideal; the construction of that ideal, presented in the husks, to the rebuttal and the remnants of its ultimate failure, bearing witness to nature’s reclamation of the left-behind detritus of man’s best-laid plans.