Noun el·e·gy \ˈe-lə-jē\
A song or poem expressing sorrow or lamentation especially for one who is dead.
CJ Gardella’s ELEGY is grotesquely alluring; lovely images of nature decaying, extreme close-ups of bugs with way too many legs, and the emotional toll of a loved ones death that you just can’t shake.
Opening music reminiscent of Japanese Koto music leads into standard classical and opera, which carries us through the rest of the film. The colours of this film are rich and deep; the colours of Fall, oranges and browns, the colours of whiskey, and these colours help set the tone. From the first blink of the turtles eye, to the blink of the first woman we see, until the light in all eyes is extinguished, the eyes are the focus; drawing your gaze away from the nudity, which keeps it from being vulgar, but instead makes it an important plot piece, we come in naked, we go out naked. We find ourselves following the final day of two (four?) corpses as they begin to accept grief, and take their final steps in dealing with grief in the ways individuals are forced to do, and sometimes, the results of said grief, are more grief.
The only issue I had with the story is that the credits list five characters, but since there is no speaking in the film, I could only narrow it down by gender, and I couldn’t easily tell if the four corpses were supposed to be the same bodies at different stages of decomposition or entirely different characters.
This picture took time, and the location is superb; I’d love to hear Gardella talk about the picking of the house where filming took place, and about the experience of filming there, it seems as though the house has its’ own story to tell, like it has its’ own ghost stories. All in all, ELEGY is a beautiful ode to death, and I highly recommend it.