Beyond the One

Tina Poglajen from Cineuropa, Indiewire and Film Comment on Opus Bonum selection Beyond the One by Anna Marziano (European premiere).

Beyond the One (Al di là dell’uno, Anna Marziano, 2017)

World literature is full of dedications to romantic love and all of its incarnations. Numerous collections of love poetry or prose love scenes have been published as books in their own right, like musical compilations of the best love songs of a particular era, or even of all time. All of them celebrate what Western culture deems the highest of all human experiences, the essence of the happiest moments of adulthood, the meaning and the fulfilment of human life. “Love”, though defined in drastically different ways throughout history, seems to have taken on an ahistoric, eternal character. The narrative of one true love suddenly seems to have been here forever, and has thereby obscured even further the social structures of Western culture it was meant to justify in the first place.

That is precisely what Italian director Anna Marziano’s Beyond the One is about. With its careful arrangement of excerpts from music, film and literature, it aims to do precisely the opposite of those ubiquitous collections of romantic material. Marziano consciously chooses not to indulge her audience in pleasant fantasies or the pleasures of the familiar, but instead to reject the notion of “one true love.” She exposes the ideology underneath, almost violently deconstructing the myth in order to extrude the lived realities within. Finally, Beyond the One aims to offer alternate visions of love, those which have historically been seen as what love is not.

The storytellers of her film speak through texts originating from all over the world, from India to France. They have all been emotionally or physically hurt by the common ideas of “love.” There are children growing up with a fear of relationships and adults hanging on to theirs because they seek to heal the remnants of past emotional scars. Women speak of being abused physically and sexually under the state-sanctioned, religious institutions of marriage, also supposedly based on love. Marziano’s poetry collection is melancholic rather than elated, her sequence of scenes sobering instead of escapist, and her love songs are compiled from progressive tunes rather than golden oldies Beyond the One, true to its title, completes these testimonies with passages dedicated to alternative, broad-minded, even queer practices of love. These may be rooted in a contemporary belief in consensual, ethical and non-heteronormative relationships, or they may be just a largely forgotten part of history.

This is not to say that Beyond the One is so embedded in its own politics and didacticism that has no sense of beauty.t is just not found exactly where we might expect. As the film progresses, the narrative starts to dissolve, giving way to formal experiments. Theory and politics, embedded in the carefully compiled master narrative of, finally start giving way to lyricism. Shot on Super 8 and 16mm, Beyond the One is as geographic as it is cinematic. It’s a journey through music, film and literature, patiently tracing their various forms through its playful interweaving of dreamy visuals. Ultimately, Marziano’s essay on love is not argumentative, but poetic. At its core, Beyond the One is without a doubt beautiful, and perhaps one of the rare examples of theory and poetics working together in film.

Tina Poglajen

Tina Poglajen is a freelance film critic based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She works for the national radio, the film magazine Ekran and occasionally writes for international outlets such as Cineuropa, Film Comment and Indiewire. She is also the president of the Slovenian national section of FIPRESCI.

more articles from a section:  Review

1+2.19On Sounds by ImageThe film journalist Antonín Tesař writes about the new film The Sound Is Innocent directed by Johana Ožvold.Antonín Tesař
1+2.19 Music as a Lag Between Death and InfinityJanis Prášil ruminates on Solo – this year´s winner of Ji.hlava Czech Joy section – which comes to cinemas. Did the picture succeed in depicting the inner world, so hard to portray, of a mentally ill musician? And what if it is the illness itself which enables people to take a look into the grievous core of being?Janis Prášil
1+2.19A Place to Take a BreathThe film journalist Janis Prášil compares two documentary portraits of this year – Forman vs. Forman and Jiří Suchý: Tackling Life with Ease on his blog.Janis Prášil
F2.18The Silence of Others This film by Almudena Carracedo and Rober Bahar, produced by the Almodóvar brothers, screams out for justice for the unpunished crimes of the Franco régime
F4.17China, 87. The OthersWill Tizard from Variety on the Opus Bonum selection China 87. The Others by Violaine de VillersWill Tizard
F2.17Máme tlakovú níž / Richard Müller: Nepoznaný
F1.17Also Known as JihadiWill Tizard from Variety on the Opus Bonum selection Also Known as Jihadi byEric BaudelaireWill Tizard
F1.17The Lust for PowerWill Tizard from Variety on Opus Bonum selection The Lust for Power by Tereza Nvotová (world premiere).Will Tizard
F1.17On the Edge of Freedom Sydney Levine from SydneysBuzz on First Lights selection On the Edge of Freedom by Jens Lengerke and Anita Mathal Hopland (central European premiere). Sydney Levine
F3.17Acts and IntermissionsColin Beckett on Opus Bonum selection Acts and Intermissions by Child Abigail (internationale premiere).Colin Beckett

starší články

October 23, 2017

from current issue:

New releaseShooting About KunderaDocumentarian Miloslav Šmídmajer describes the process of making a documentary about Milan Kundera with the working title “Milan Kundera: From the Joke to Insignificance.” Miloslav ŠmídmajerThemeNest in the bedroomPeter Hames, well-known British film historian and author of the book The Czechoslovak New Wave sent his remembrance to Karel Vachek to our magazine.Peter HamesThemeNever stop laughingPaolo Benzi, the Italian film producer and founder of the independent film production company Okta Film, describes for dok.revue how he met famous Czech documentary filmmaker Karel Vachek, who passed away last year. Paolo Benzi is also the main tutor of the Emerging producers in Ji.hlava IDFF.Paolo BenziThemeBehold, if the river is turbulent he is not frightenedIn this English issue of dok.revue we have collected some remembrances to Karel Vachek, the respected Czech documentarist who died in December 2020 at the age of 80. One of the contributors is Olaf Möller, a well-known film theorist and critic collaborating with many renowned film magazines (Film Comment or Sight & Sound), film museums and festivals (e.g. Il Cinema Ritrovato or International Film Festival Rotterdam).Olaf MöllerThemeEvery human being should get to wear comfy shoesThe Czech documentarist Karel Vachek was a chairperson of the jury at Yamagata international documentary film festival (YIDFF) in 2009. The board member of YIDFF and the former director of this festival, Asako Fujioka, has a remembrance of him smoking his pipe and going to the mountains with Japanese poet and filmmaker Yoshimasu Gozo to recite poetry to the skies.Asako FujiokaThemeLike the dog on the beach...American film historian Alice Lovejoy writes her remembrance of Karel Vachek, the remarkable Czech documentarist to whom we dedicate this English issue of dok.revue.Alice LovejoyInterviewThe times of lifelong careers are overAn interview with documentarian Jindřich Andrš, whose film A New Shift won the Czech competition section Czech Joy at Ji.hlava IDFF2020.Vojtěch KočárníkInterviewGoing to the Polish Turf with Our Own TeamInterview with documentary filmmakers Filip Remunda and Vít Klusák about their latest joint film project Once Upon a Time in Poland that shows how religion and faith are misused in contemporary Poland for mass manipulation and political purposes. The film‘s Czech premiere was held as part of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival 2020.Kamila BoháčkováIntroductionDok.revue 1.21This issue is dedicated to the doyen of Czech documentary filmmaking Karel VachekKamila Boháčková