By Hemanth Kissoon
“This place means release for them.”
Could this film be any more nutty without losing all semblance of coherence? I’m not so sure. A man, who later is described as a “shady type”, and who names himself Kosmos, emerges from a harsh snowy landscape in tears and finds himself at a small town in the middle of nowhere. On the banks of the river, at the entrance to the enclave, the body of a small boy floats down, while the boy’s sister screams. Somehow and sans explanation Kosmos brings the boy back to life. And so begins his episodic odyssey in the town, being vilified and lauded at every turn. Who is this man and where did he come from? What does Kosmos want? Is he a demi-god, a prophet, an alien? None of these questions are close to being answered by the filmmaker, Reha Erdem (who also made TIMES AND WINDS).
Beautifully shot, and acted with conviction, KOSMOS is a character study of a small town when an extremely bizarre man enters its perimeter. The stranger just eats sugar, and all he drinks is tea. Kosmos breaks into shops and steals what others need. This would be a Robin Hood gesture, but it appears that no-one is that well off, though I guess he helps the even poorer – an interesting idea of charity in itself. Apart from his abrasive encounters with the townsfolk that make up the majority of the film, there are various sub-strands (they can’t even be called subplots due to their flimsy telling):
- Four brothers want an autopsy for their dead father,
- There are resident campaigns to open the border, as well as to keep it closed, and
- A teacher is sent against her will to this place.
I guess you could say KOSMOS is about the mysteries of the universe, and the microcosm of a small community is used to analyse. But that is a guess; ideas and themes are touched upon and messed around with – it’s as if the director is playing with his food so to speak. There are tastes but no real nourishment. KOSMOS is weirdly engaging though. I particularly found compelling the aggressive sound design, featuring war exercises in the background, dogs barking, banging, and the radio. This is an almost apocalyptic vision of the world.