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NBFF 2016 Review: Call Of The Void

Steve (Mojean Aria) - 4It can be fun to learn a neat fact from a film. Call of the Void is a solid neo-noir whose title is translated from the French psychoanalytical term l’appel du vide, which refers a person having a self-destructive impulse. Armed with a camera and a desire to make a film hearkening back to an older time and genre, writer/director Dustin Kahia has made an interesting, stylish effort.

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Steve (Mojean Aria) - 3

Set in 1949, the film revolves around Steve (Mojean Aria), a neurotic man suffering a crisis that has developed from a lost love. We see Steve in various states of distress, with the film allowing us to learn his perspective on things, how he interacts with others and seemingly the understanding from others in regards to him. Some key characters are introduced, including Steve’s girlfriend (Ashley Clement) and his A.A. sponsor (James Morrison), but everything will revolve around where Steve’s troubles take him and what they reveal.

Call of the Void clearly pays homage to key players from the time of film noir. Hitchcock is a notable influence and I personally thought a lot of Fritz Lang in terms of the look and mood of the film. The nature of story also brought to mind Franz Kafka. It is in the way the film balances its sense of atmosphere and attempts to channel classical filmmaking techniques, while presenting a story featuring existential anxiety.

Now obviously those are some major figures to want to match up to, but Kahia doesn’t lean hard on what the film owes itself to in attempt to make up for it. Instead, he has put together a unique story that relies heavily on understanding a character and dealing with relationships. It’s a relatable story, but the style adds new dimension to it. The confident performance from Aria certainly helps as well.

Veronica (Ashley Clements)

A level of affectation is necessary when portraying a character in this vain, with this sort of stylistic polish on top. Aria does not overdo it, but he does have a range to play with, which felt totally fitting, given what we learn about him and for what the film requires to be successful. The supporting actors are good enough as well, with some necessary shading to keep you guessing on certain aspects, but it is Aria that carries the film.

To dig more into the style of the film, Call of the Void is presented in black and white and while the film was shot digitally, you get to see a number of visual touches that help to preserve a setting and its function. Shot choices, focus levels and other aspects all help to put you inside the mind of Steve and set up the important reveals to come. Being a neo-noir, there is an inherent darkness to the narrative, but the level of intrigue never lets up.

As the film finished, I found myself very satisfied with the brief journey I had gone on. While only fifty minutes long, this low-budget effort provided an interesting exploration of a man’s psyche. It builds itself out of ideas drawn from an older time and works with modern technology to recall the past. Given how indebted to the past the narrative is, Call of the Void is a good play on what people were once familiar with and how they see things now. Ideally the viewer has more hope than Steve though, as one can learn to acknowledge the past and embrace it within their present and future.

CALL OF THE VOID - Poster

Click on the poster to visit the Newport Beach Film Festival website,
and be sure to check back to Why So Blu throughout the week
for more of my coverage of the festival!

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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