Letters scroll up the screen as if announcing a new episode of Star Wars. ‘The earth is on the brink of entering the next dimension,’ they tell us while ethno music plays in the background. ‘Thousands gather to mentally build an energy portal through which the earth will reach a higher spiritual level.’ That is the premise of META_MORPHOSIS, coming to you at a string of German science-fiction film festivals this spring.
Based on Cyril Moog’s novel of the same name, the movie is a different animal than what most contemporary viewers would expect. META_MORPHOSIS takes you on a trippy journey through its universe rather than relying on the breakneck MTV-style cutting we have become so used to in recent years. Instead of kinetic handheld camera and actors on the run, it employs CGI effects and still photographs.
The approach is peculiar but intriguing. We can even argue that the audio level is more important in the 63-minute film than the visuals. Bernhard Faltermeier’s sitar score practically booms out of the speakers. Likewise, the narrations by Moog (in the German original) and Thomas Huber and Sinéad Kennedy (in the English translation) taken from the novel are also privileged over the space-out moving pictures.
What many may consider as idiosyncrasies comes as no surprise to those familiar with the project. META_MORPHOSIS was originally designed as a spellbinding multimedia event, a live reading by the book’s author combined with sitar playing by the musician and footage from the movie. This writer even had the chance to witness it in Frankfurt in 2011 and went home fascinated by the stimulating experience.
Not all of the ingredients of META_MORPHOSIS are entirely original, of course. There’s a shade of The Matrix in the way advanced, machine-like extraterrestrials keep humans as their slaves. The way these sinister creatures exist among us and control us certainly recalls John Carpenter’s classic They Live! or the 1980s cult adventure game Zak McKracken & The Alien Mindbenders.
Yet META_MORPHOSIS is able to create a gripping, thought-provoking mixture of the materials it incorporates to tell its tale. It fuses the storyline of the evil aliens trying to infiltrate the earth with an esoteric mindset that would make Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey or Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life proud. All the while, there are hints at Gnosticism, Christianity’s erstwhile rival religion from the early centuries.
META_MORPHOSIS was premiered at the Cosmic Cine Filmfestival 2012 in Munich on 17 April, 2012. It will also be shown at the same festival in Karlsruhe on 24 April, Bonn-Bad Godesberg on 1 May, Darmstadt on 8 May, and at the Main-Taunus-Zentrum near Frankfurt am Main on 15 May of this year. Cyril Moog’s META_MORPHOSIS novel is available in German through Edition Sonne.
Check out the site of Cosmic Cine Filmfestival and the META_MORPHOSIS trailer here:
This is an exclusive review by Torsten Reitz for Cinema-V.