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Year: 1997
Runtime: 28 min
Director: Peter Mettler
Producer: Peter Mettler
Cinematographer: Peter Mettler
Editor: Peter Mettler
Sound: Peter Mettler
Production Company: Grimthorpe Film

Balifilm, a highly subjective travelogue in which Mettler explores ideas about art and travelling, is a return to the territory of Eastern Avenue. It also shows an engagement with the philosophy of vision and with the role art plays in transcendence, key concerns of Picture of Light and Gambling, Gods and LSD, respectively.

The film's beautiful, striking music - alternately tinkling and thunderous - is, as the credits explain, "a live recording of musicians playing the Indonesian gamelan instruments during the projection of the film." What might seem to some like garden-variety exoticism becomes - through Mettler's use of such techniques as extreme close-ups and blurry slow-motion - a sense of genuine unease, of being on the outside looking in at a culture in all its expressive grandeur.

An elegant, carefully thought-out sketch, Balifilm is nonetheless as evocative as the full-canvas masterpieces of Picture of Light and Gambling, Gods and LSD, and the delicate watercolour that is Eastern Avenue. Lovely to behold, it takes its viewer on a rich, exciting cinematic journey.

Music by Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble.

By: Jerry White

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