* WITHOUT SPOILERS *
Pascal Payant is a freelance director whom has the particularity to assemble his own short and feature films independently. From pre-production to the promotion of his productions, this Quebecer filmmaker accommodates himself with all the tasks: staging, editing, calibration, sound mixing, etc.
His first feature film, On the Horizon, had a budget of just $ 50,000 and an astonishing, seductive and magical result. It is a real cinematic favorite which I will tell you about in this new section, dedicated to « discoveries « .
SYNOPSIS : Casey’s life was going pretty well until he got a call from his ex. This unstable woman is completely incompatible with him, but yet he feels so good with her … Their passion is reborn, then, almost immediately, it disappeared again when Elissa broke up with him. She finds herself in the arms of another former lover, while Casey plunges headlong into his work and hobbies, without enthusiasm, but thinking that this will perhaps allow his injuries to heal. But can a love that should never have existed really die ?
An aesthtetical movie
The quality of On the Horizon lies in its visual aesthetics, in the beauty of its natural sets and in the symbolic geometry of specific plans.
It sometimes is flirting between advertising for a Hugo Boss fragrance (and this is not a flaw, nor even a blame) and a romantic road trip. Pascal Payant captures his environment with a lot of grace and offers an explosion of color almost indecent for our eyes, overwhelmed by sumptuous natural decor. The film, shot notably in Utah in the United States, reveals its warm canyons as well as an unreal white desert (Salt Lake City).
It is in those idyllic landscapes, that Pascal Payant will stage the carelessness of the youth and the notions of freedom that will guide the two heroes in the first act of the film. This quest for sentimental freedom is visible, for example, in the sequence taking place in the white desert, where the two lovers bathe in an out-of-time-happiness, far from the bustle of the city. A place similar to Paradise but which will also be a Hell for Casey and Elissa, since this steppe will provoke and reveal the internal conflicts, which have plagued them for so many years.
Pascal Payant also finds inspiration in painting and the artistic genre known as « Still Life ».
In this plan (image on the left), we can see all the characteristics of a painting of still life : various objects (glasses, plates, lamp), food / drinks (wines) and a black skull. This skull has, moreover, an important symbolism in the construction of this scene and in history, in general. It characterizes a story of stillborn love, its fragility, in short, a love relationship doomed to failure. We can also see it by the distance between Casey and Elissa and their behaviors.
. Geometry is rewarding !
As we just saw, Pascal Payant leaves nothing to chance, whether it is the choice of accessories, images’ places or composition, the frames, etc… The filmmaker offers a remarkable film, beyond the simple aesthetic dressing.
The geometry of the plans is also a major asset in the staging of On The Horizon, as evidenced by this plan (image on the left), where Elissa is seated on a castle’s windowsill. There too, the symbolism is strong.
* SPOILERS * : The immensity of the shot represents Elissa’s state of mind at the time of the film, namely, the immensity of her loneliness and the fragile balance of her relationships. * END SPOILERS *
* SPOILERS * Ironically, this geometry, this perfection in the plans, will crumble as the love story between Casey and Elissa deteriorates. In particular in the end – where Casey frees himself from the toxic grip of her relationship with Elissa – will consist of untidy scenes, with a crazy camera, without snagging. * END SPOILERS *
On The Horizon is a romantic road trip with impeccable visual aesthetics. It is a sweet and tasty little candy, which seduces by its majestic mastering of the image, but also by this toxic love story between two disturbed young adults due to an emotional attachment, of which getting rid-off seems to be an impossible act.
On the Horizon can be enjoyed by clicking this link :