Without prior knowledge, Umbra—winner of the Golden Bear for short film at Berlin International Film Festival—could be experienced as a mysterious sequence of narrative-free images. The leitmotif is an interplay of light and dark, the founding principle of cinema. No matter how abstract and artificial they sometimes seem, they are all observations of natural phenomena.
The reflective, glittering surface of water is recognizable for what it is, as is the forest viewed from above. But the questions soon start in the first scene, when light very slowly pierces the darkness, accompanied by an abstract soundscape. And what do you make of the mysterious figure looming out of a white mist? What do you think you’re seeing? Is your perception reliable? And how’s the sound influencing that perception?
This is the sort of tantalizing audiovisual experience that Florian Fischer and Johannes Krell want to achieve with a film that meanders between dream and reality, and messes with the boundaries of your perception.