by Stephanie WUERTZ
2016-2017 / 16mm / color-b&w / sound / 1S / 14' 00
In the tradition of castaway and survivalist genres, the protagonist of The Islands is a young boy, despondent and growing irritable in his exiled boredom, resigned as he is to a small, empty room. Whether he is a lost hero or a criminal is unclear, as is whether the world he longs for is one of invention or memory. He could be the first human or the last.
Alternating seamlessly between color and black-and-white, nostalgia and premonition, dream and reality, the film is set to the swelling strings and grandiose narration of the 1961 film adaptation of Jules Verne's Mysterious Island. "The landscape everywhere was a mixture of the strange and the beautiful," says the narrator, as cicadas form an aural mist interrupted by mysterious animals calls, echoing as if from a far distance. Animals and insects wander through the film with confidence and freedom that renders the child's play futile, frustrated, and inferior in its wildness. After all, what happens to the explorer when discovery itself is obsolete?