Lush, stilled, but never becalmed, it is to ache: green New York upstate and suburban Arizona rise on waves of summer light as teenaged Max encircles its nights and days on his bicycle: working in an intangible yet hardly vague fashion not unfamiliar from filmmakers like Gus Van Sant or Todd Haynes (especially his long-missing “Safe”), director Tim Sutton (working with a Canon D5 DSLR) captures liquescent mood and evokes a patient languor, slightly oblique, just shy of readily-put-to-language meaning in the gorgeous, observational “Pavilion.” (Think: “beasts of the western mild.”) The soundtrack is specific and present, endlessly suggestive. (The soft sizzle of handheld roman candles; a cat’s belly-full rumble; the damp shiver-judder of bicycle wheels as summer-sad as a hissing lawn sprinkler two lawns over.) Long takes follow characters on wanders. Showing is telling. Idleness is suspended time. Beauty is eternal, infernal, temporal and passes with the season. Sutton completed the film through Kickstarter with “a tiny, tiny amount of money.” He got what he needed. The limpid, haunting photography, in pursuit of simple, indelible light, is by Chris Dapkins (“Swell Season”); the indispensable score is by Sam Prekop of “Sea and Cake.” “Pavilion” is what personal movies are in the process of becoming. 69m. (Ray Pride)
“Pavilion” opens Friday, March 1 at Facets. A trailer and Sam Prekop’s theme music are below.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.