a Darkness Swallowed

Director: Betzy Bromberg

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Six years in the making, Betzy Bromberg's latest film is a meditation on the physical traces that memories leave behind on and inside our bodies, and on and inside the Earth. Cleverly beginning with images of two nearly identical, somewhat-worn photographs of a partially crushed car and a narration about psychic ties to an event that happened before the existence of the narrator, the film then plunges into a microscopy of epic proportions. No stone, or bone, is left unturned as the camera focuses on the imprints made by physical events, and the wispy cobwebs they leave behind like memories. Many of the images are unidentifiable alone, but when seen in sequence, they become more recognizable—body tissue, fossilized reptilian skin, liquids frozen into solids. Objects both living and lifeless, what they share are the indelible vestiges of the past, forever linking what remains to the whole that no longer exists.

With painterly use of light, color, and composition, and a keen sense for choosing imagery that seems both intergalactic and minutely specific, Bromberg creates an original, familiar, yet alien, visual landscape. An expressionistic score and sound design immerse us more deeply in the film. Masterfully conceived and executed, a Darkness Swallowed is an expansive interior journey that is as haunting as any of the traces of memory that it investigates.

— Matt Anderson

Screening Details

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