Rock Bottom Riser

Fern Silva

IndieLisboa 2021 •

Portugal, USA, Documentary, Experimental, 2021, 70′

Fern Silva’s first feature film is an essay-film produced in Hawaii, which mixes cinematographic genres that range from documentary to animation, as well as themes that touch upon astronomy, geology and ethnography. While exploring what unites human beings with the nature that surrounds them and the cosmos that encloses them, this film also looks at the impact of colonialism on that same island.

This story without beginning or end that Fern Silva proposes to tell us, has as its starting point the most sacred mountain in Hawaii. Two opposed fields, two perspectives on temporality as well. Some look at the stars and want to build the largest telescope in the world, aiming to map the solar system and beyond, for the explorers and great conquerors of the future, and to find new worlds. And then there are the others who, more modestly, intend to preserve their culture, fighting against the new colonisers who want to desecrate their lands once more and are concerned about the Universe’s infinite, real, current and immediate threat: The lava torrents spewed from the volcanoes surrounding the islands. Fern Silva does not take sides, leaving to each one the faculty of forming their own opinion, convinced that there are reasons on both sides and that there are no heroes or bandits in this story. There is an important and, at the same time, futile dispute, conditioned by the possibility of an eruption, which can erase memories forever. In the land of surfers, meaning or purpose are missing. Nothing but faint clues noticed in the distance, on the hollow of a wave, asking only to be explored, surfed and tamed, like so many blank pages on which the human spirit can wander and get lost infinitely. And, that way, inscribing on the water the greatness of its ephemeral passage on Earth. (Mickäel Gaspar)