Dane Komljen’s second feature-length film is propelled by a gradual movement towards its subject: water. Inspired notably by the works of G. Evelyn Hutchinson, the film begins in the detached space of a scientific laboratory specialised in limnology – the study of inland water ecosystems, including lakes. It then shifts to the physical and psychological exploration of the lake itself. The film uses all the resources it has to further its quest for the source: texts, speech and languages, movements, formats, at the same time contemplative and desiring. The characters attempt to get closer using their sense of touch, changing clothes, sharing readings or simply entwining in their sleep (perhaps sharing dreams), such that the desire of water also becomes a desire to dissolve into each other. One of the protagonists reads aloud to his companion: “There are not enough mouths to utter all your fleeting names, o water. I would have to name you in every tongue, pronouncing all the vowels at once while keeping silent for the sake of the lake that still goes unnamed and doesn’t exist on this earth…” The film forms a triptych of three epochs, spaces, geographies, characters and bodies, the only link between them being water, shared not only as a substance but also a subconscious. The lake becomes the space of a dream, a reflective swimming pool – in fact, the fungal, slimy texture of its third and last part reminds us of Bill Viola’s Reflecting Pool; an incommensurable place in whose depths towns, memories and whole lives have been engulfed.
Dane Komljen, born in 1986 in Banja Luka, SFR Yugoslavia. He studied cinema and art. His first feature, All the Citites of the North, premiered in 2016. Afterwater is his second feature. He works and lives in Berlin.