O Que Resta (What Remains)
O Que Resta is a dream. A barely 40-minute, dusky dream: the kind that you have no idea of who or what you were in it when you describe it later. Were you the one who was looking? Or the person being looked at? Were you the hearing, movement, breathing? After all, you were there! And while you recall the emotion felt in the dream clearer and clearer, the concrete elements slip away. The body and subjects, it seems, were only forced in place anyway. Spreading out in the empty space behind: affect.
Jola Wieczorek’s film O Que Resta (What Remains) comprises three acts: in the first, the picture remains black while a voice reads. A son out in the field writes to his mother, fearful that he will not return home. The camera pans, while further letters follow, about the polished floors of an old apartment in Lisbon. The movement is oriented backward, a receding, perhaps a departure from these heavily memory-loaden walls with their copper etchings and photographs. In the second act, an elderly woman prepares for a visit. Her movements are routine and weary, she’s done them a thousand times: putting out the coffee pot, smoothing the bed cover. What would the cover und kettle be without her hand? In the third act, the future of the second becomes a certainty: the movers come and marks remain from cupboards that have been moved away from the wall. A young man writes from England. His first journey abroad, he is excited: girls wear short bathing suits.
Who are you in this cinematic dream situated in multiple times? The boy, the girl, the elderly woman who once received the letter? Or the young couple with the child whom the real-estate agent shows through the apartment? What remains is a film image of empty rooms, sunlit for the first time: and a final, mechanical pan of the camera to a framed picture that no longer hangs on the wall.
Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt
The household of a Lisbon family is disbanded after a century, and turns into the hub of a biographical and contemporary investigation. While the camera accompanies the further path of the furniture and objects left behind, a fragmentarily mounted exchange of letters off screen bears witness to personal and historic tragedies. What remains—o que resta—, is the memory. A time-essay. Diagonale catalogue
O que resta