We Have Decided Not to Die
March 8th, 2013
This piece was written in two separate parts.
1. "We Have Decided Not to Die", written, directed and edited by Daniel Askill, is a delightful, sumptuous and surprisingly analeptic short film. It's presented in three brief but interrelated narratives, almost like timed, probiotic doses of inspiration.
The imagery is so arrestingly beautiful and necessarily incomplete, making you believe in reversibility and its seemingly mysterious powers. Stark, subtle and often exposed, a new type of subjectivity is portrayed. "You" instantly resonate, feeling as if you're just being swept away, or in fact carried along. Are you prepared to go against the flow? Or do you like the way the wind feels at your back?
You can sense, despite it all, that a definitive trauma is imminent. Without question, or a seed of justification, you can feel it in your shrinking bones. Even if you can't articulate the conditions of the trauma, you've expected a variation of the experience your entire life. You've been trying to brace for impact. Whether it's the thought of an accident, or a romance or a catastrophic event, a death or an apocalypse, you just knew it would come to you, or you to it. If you're going to have a chance, make sure you limber up.
There's an entire thematic of practice and self-cultivation latent throughout the film: stretch your muscles and push your limits. After all, who knows what can be achieved, let alone accomplished. You may be drowning, or headed on a collision course, but why can't it be averted? Is defenestration the only affirmation that remains? Why can't the impending doom be reversed? Do you think it can? That's more than half the puzzle.
Without dialogue, or a chance to converse verbally, the music permeates and saturates the film as it attempts to soak up the ineffable natural course of submersion, linearity and gravity. In a way, the accompanying music offers the same resistance to the habitually accepted way of things that the time-lapse technique imparts: the constant confirmation that another way forward is possible, even if that's retracing your steps so as not to make the same mistakes.
Read Part II, "Public Immune System".