Nikola Gocić reviews The Kingdom Of Shadows, 2016, directed by Daniel Fawcett & Clara Pais
The Alchemists of The Underground Film Studio, Daniel Fawcett (born in UK, 1982) and Clara Pais (born in Portugal, 1990) have been making films since 1998 (yes, Ms Pais was only 8 back then!). Their body of work involves short, medium-length and feature offerings, with a pretty extensive list of screenings, as well as live performances. The beginning of their collaboration and “shamanic approach to Cinema” dates back to 2011 and is tightly connected to Savage Witches. This award-winning “motion picture exploration” is an ode to the tradition of underground/experimental filmmaking and golden age Hollywood, an insight into their (esoteric) practices and an introspective platform that will later expand with their poetical manifesto film The Quest For The Cine-Rebis. Their belief that cinema is still young and open to further exploration is clearly reflected in everything they do.
If by any chance the duo decided to put an end to their careers (God forbid!), they would have their magnum opus in an enchanting, yet inscrutable fantasy The Kingdom Of Shadows. Ruled by the phantoms of Raúl Ruiz and Pina Bausch as King and Queen, with the spirits of Derek Jarman and Sergei Parajanov as Grand Dukes, this transcendental realm rests in the hands of its deities, Daniel and Clara. Myths, dreams, nightmares, reveries and personal history are not just abstract concepts – they are living and breathing organisms composed of some unknown cosmic matter. In that regard, each of the characters functions as an organ, thought, memory and/or hallucination, with the exact purpose remaining an enigma. And the film itself exists as a seductive mystical entity that inhales you into the ethereal self, provoking you to dive as deep as possible into the Subliminal Beyond. Adorned with glassy pearls containing ancient secrets from before time, it opens the doorway towards unspeakable, yet mesmerizing visions.