TRATAK 1 - Antars, The Ice Around The Time

We never see how it is, but how we are.

Genre: Other

Length: 08:00

Free To View

2.5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Davide Carlini,

Director/s : Davide Carlini, 

Writer/s : Davide Carlini, 

Actor/s : Carlo Filocamo, Iacopo Nestori



Tratak, apparently,  is a style of meditation that involves staring at a fixed point, such as a candle or a dot. This brings out senses that have (as writer/director/producer Carlini puts it) “atrophied in the majority of beings embodied in this space-time.”

Antars, the Ice Around the Time, is the introductory chapter in a multi-part full-length film. It’s likely that the whole makes more sense than the separate parts, as it could hardly make less. Not that we should look for sense, or even meaning, but in meditative spirit, let it come to us in the succession of images before us: a man with a candle, the cosmic sky, a fob-watch in snow, a crystal ball, hailstones on ice that look like stars, a compass in the snow. And penguins – this isn’t any snow, it’s Antarctic snow. We are at the furthest end of the world.

Meaning in images – this is the power of film. The candle draws us inwards, the cosmos pull us out. A compass in the Antarctic, where all directions are north. Maybe. Who knows…

The images themselves are not beautiful, disturbing or in any way strong enough to hold us. Likewise the minimalist nurdling music, and radio interference sounding like penguin chatter. It want to be profound, but it stands between mysterious and mundane.

Godfrey Reggio’s Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi are surely reference-points here, where powerful images and some of the most amazing music ever scored for film (by Philip Glass) work together for powerful hypnotic effect. Surely the slower pace of Koyaanisqatsi is closer to the practice of Tatrak?

For all that, this is clearly a labour of love and commitment by Carlini. That deserves respect, and some will certainly connect strongly with it.