Editors Note: “Price is Right” is a running column from local film enthusiast Mr. Price. He reviews selected Strasburg Film Festival films. If he posts a negative review, then the Shenandoah Film Collaborative will respond within his reviews as to why we selected the certain film. By going about it this way, we can help ensure the reader that these are honest film reviews.
“Genesis”, as the name implies, is rife with symbolism, starting immediately with quotes from texts of the the Abrahamic faiths. This heavy symbolism persists throughout the film as it shines a harsh light on some of the uncomfortable truths about humanity. To do this via a film that also happens to be gorgeous in its animation, with a haunting soundtrack, is truly a feat to be admired.
The world presented by “Genesis” is a small one, within a larger one. The character we follow sits inside a barren box with one opening facing a wide, beautiful landscape and a tree which, along with the film’s title, immediately calls to mind Eden. This character’s head is a cube of screens that, throughout the first half of the piece, display the horrors mankind is capable of inflicting on one another, as well as our collective ability to largely ignore these horrors is they happen far away. “Genesis” creates a striking balance, tackling difficult and uncomfortable ideas while presenting them in such a visually beautiful world. It’s hard to look, but impossible to look away. This connects directly with the motif of the box in which our character sits. Outside is a world of beauty, but the narrow bridge over an endless abyss make the journey to that world difficult and dangerous. And on the other side, the unfamiliarity with this new world drives the man back, almost to his death.
“Genesis” ends on a somber note, but not a hopeless one. The film challenges the character, and by extension the viewer, not to continue hiding in the box, to brave the trip from familiar lie to unknown truth. There is meaning in every inch of “Genesis”, a beautifully-crafted world infused with a story and theme that refuse to shy away from asking the big, difficult questions.