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* Contains spoilers – do not read, if you want to watch the film for the first time *
Kosmos (2010) has passed my Does it Bear Watching Again? test (DIBWA) (or whatever I call it). If I had had a chance to watch it again at Cambridge Film Festival, it would have been to check on detail that I felt that I had missed first time around.
As it is, ten months later, it had me in tears at the end, after having been weighing in the balance whether knowing what was to happen (although getting the sequence wrong several times, not, I think, because it had been re-edited*) mattered to my appreciation for all but the last few minutes. For I was watching it through the more critical lens of scrutinizing it to see whether it worked, but the cumulative impact still hit me, even if (partly because of reading TAKE ONE’s review) I had been more aware of the way in which the soundtrack, including electronic and natural sounds, played its part.
Some things that I had remembered aright:
* Someone who reviewed the film on IMDb wrongly thought that the woman with the crutch (reminiscent of Lady Archer) kills herself, not the teacher - as if there were any doubt, the former is still around at the end
* That Neptün and Kosmos both counter gravity, and, with the paperwork that litters the place, fly around his lodging
* The role of the falling star / spacecraft in healing the boy who was not speaking
* Kosmos irritating those who think that he should conform to what living a proper life consists in, having a job and doing work
Some things I had not weighed properly:
* How Neptün is jealous of the teacher, because of her relations with Kosmos, and we are twice shown her throwing stones at the other woman's window (and that she had given herself this name, then Kosmos his own in response)
* Just how ambiguous it is whether she has sex with Kosmos at the conclusion of the scene referred to above (and / or an earlier scenes at his lodgings, where they behave like wolves)
* The coherence of the scenes with the cattle and the geese, and of the views of the civic clock
* The way in which popular opinion turns against Kosmos at the end, despite his grief at what happens to the teacher and the boy
* How raids against the cheese-shop, pharmacy and other premises influences residents against campaigning to re-open the border
* The use of CGI in making the snow and effects with the wind happen, as clearly no one could wait for it to be snowing to film a scene - once I became aware of this artificiality, I could not easily shut it out
As to the impression that the film left me with, it is an abiding and powerful one of a film-maker thoughtfully presenting a series of images and not insisting that any one way of looking at them is correct. This is as it should be with the best films, and this one compares very well with Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011).
* Although some things that I could have sworn were to come never happened: a follow-up to the brush that Kosmos has with the tip of a lighted cigarette, in showing his immunity to cold, though I forget what, although I thought that it involved the stove.