Few independent film makers could accomplish what Simon Horrocks has with his debut feature length piece ‘Third Contact”, which is to combine a theme that seizes your attention with a stimulating attack on the senses, and all on an astonishingly modest budget.
It is no surprise that it was well received upon debuting at the 46 Hofer Filmtage, there is a refreshing lack of self indulgence and a frank honesty to the characters in Third Contact that draws you in and keeps you captivated. Aside from this ‘Third Contact’ is much more than just a film, it is a surrealist work of art and should be appreciated as such.
A fascinating exploration of sanity, grief and death the film centres around Dr David Wright (skillfully portrayed by Tim Scott-Walker), an emotionally tormented psychotherapist filled with anguish after a patients apparent suicide and the loss of his lover. He questions whether it is those that are happy that are truly insane and makes an attempt on his own life, only to be interrupted by Erika Maurer (Jannica Olin), the patient’s sister, who wants to discuss the strange circumstances surrounding her brother’s death. With nothing more to go on than a list of memories the two embark on a journey of discovery that gets more mysterious and obscure the further they delve.
Although I have attempted to summarise Third Contact I must stress that to do so seems to do it, and the reader, a disservice as it is difficult for me to convey the sheer artistic brilliance and visual beauty that the work possesses. The use of the camera to depict David’s spiral into obsession is disorientating yet mesmerising and the bleak greys and blacks of the present are magnificently mixed with intense flashbacks of colour.
There is a darkness to the story with its recurring theme of suicide and the idea of parallel universes, whereby a death in one sense means freedom in another, however the poetic use of dialogue and startling imagery make it a real joy to watch. Horrocks and his cast should be immensely proud of what they have achieved.
Review by Katie-Jane Hall