CFF Review: Sasha Voronov’s ‘Mom, I Befriended Ghosts’
There’s nothing wrong with a film that ambiguously meanders a bit more than it needs to if it adds something to the characterization or overall experience the filmmakers are trying to sell. After rolling credits on Sasha Voronov’s “Mom, I Befriended Ghosts” though, it’s clear that it doesn’t always work when that ambiguous meandering is really all there was to offer in the first place.
Provided a stark opening with info cards setting up the water-based natural disaster that’s making everyone in this small Siberian village deathly ill, and dropped right into a dimly lit apartment where a young woman cares for her sick, elderly mother. She quickly sets out on some sort of trek into the forest surrounding the town, and that’s where things get very boring, very fast. It’d be a safe estimate to say that at least half of this movie is composed of dialogue-free shots of this woman walking, running, and sitting in these woods while doing nothing that makes much sense given the lack of context.
The cinematography is beautiful with a consistent downtrodden tone throughout, with even the concept feeling smart and timely. That’s unfortunately not enough to make this experience worthwhile when you’re given little to no characterization and virtually nothing to cling to or care about, even with the incredibly short run time clocking in at just over an hour. Despite the movie being short I struggled to make it through it, as it’s such a slow burn and never really given any proper fuel before being allowed to burn out. The ending is even framed in such a way that you’re supposed to feel something powerful, but that’s pretty tough to do when you have pretty much no context for what’s happened over the course of the last hour or why.
P.S. – If you saw this also and think I missed something feel free to comment, because I really wanted to like this.