The words “experimental film” have a tendency to bring me out in hives. I have visions of something that the writer and/or director wants you to “interpret” or lots of shots through filters, that kind of thing.
So, when the first thing that appeared on screen for In Transit were the following words, my heart sank: “This experimental film was shot with only improvised dialogue, no screenplay, and mostly in one day. The two lead actors never met before filming.”
I was also intrigued by what writer and director Julia Camara (“Intangible (Short)”, “Unsolved (Short)”) had planned for the next 80 minutes.
We open as Olga, Branca Ferrazo (“Scream, Zombie Scream”, “Bright In The Dark”), takes her seat in an empty diner in an airport. She orders a coffee from the friendly waitress Allison, Eve Weston (“Part Timers (TV)”, “Andy’s Adventures (TV)”), and begins to dwell on the events that led her here.
Meanwhile Daniel, Oliver Rayon (“Doc Holliday’s Revenge”, “Paranormal Incident”), wonders into the same diner, takes a seat at the next table and also begins to reflect on events that led him here.
Eventually the two strike up a conversation, lasting most of the night, and find they have a lot in common, particularly around the reasons that have led them to be in this empty diner, in an airport, late at night.
They open up to each other, outpouring their emotional stories and histories, in a way most people would struggle to do with loved ones, let alone a complete stranger. Though, as they say to each other, it is sometimes easier to tell a stranger things, otherwise therapists wouldn’t exist!
Although the diner scenes aren’t scripted, there is obviously a back story to this pair. The film is interjected with flashbacks as the two of them go about their daily lives, it helps the story of why they are where they are and who they are.
Both Ferrazo and Rayon perform very well, there are occasional trips over each other’s words, but this is normal, this is how people speak to each other, it is interesting that you notice this, despite it being normal day-to-day, as it doesn’t tend to happen in the movies.
Ferrazo in particular shines throughout the movie, she is an actual acrobat/aerialist/trapeze artist and we get to see a little of that in the film. But her performance here is wonderful, full of emotion, surprise and passion, it feels very authentic.
Whilst Rayon does well, he does come across as a sleazy type of guy, this isn’t helped by the ending of the film, or the ending of the film as we see this pair. It is a large blot on an otherwise very successful “experimental film”. The ending doesn’t feel believable, it feels straight out of Hollywood, which is a shame, and very different from everything else that’s gone prior.
In Transit isn’t the easiest film you’ll watch; the stories are tough and the pacing slow and it doesn’t have the polished feel you see from Hollywood.
However, this is an experiment, it was no doubt done on a small budget, and for that it must be applauded. I think you can call this experiment a success.