In Latin, ‘naturae’ is the plural form of ‘natura’, which means, no surprise here: nature. The term itself is derived from the verb ‘nascor’, whose literal meaning is ‘to be born’. In many cultures, and indeed in science as well, nature is considered to be the beginning and end of all things – the main, relentless cog which guarantees the cyclical proliferation of all forms of life.
'Naturae', the short film written and directed by Andrea Baglio, is a real ode to nature, in its purest and most intimate manifestation. A young man dressed in a smart suit and clenching a bottle of alcohol in his hand wanders around aimlessly through the fields and forests which lie all around him, as far as the eye can see. He appears lost, but at peace, at the same time as he lies down, naps, yells, and vents all of his emotions without fear of being seen heard and judged.
Andrea Baglio does some wonderful work behind the camera, capturing the very essence of nature through the various beautifully shot frames, while also achieving an almost meditational mood through the relatively long stills utilized throughout the film’s duration. The color palette and especially the wonderful score composed by Camilla D’Onofrio aptly complement the character’s mood, which ranges from newfound freedom to fear and desperation.
Apart from the young man and a man-made fence, which acts as a sort of gateway, a recurring theme found both in the beginning and at the end of the film, everything else is unaltered by humankind and presumably perpetuates the same cycle for millions and millions of years. The young man is almost an intruder – in his suit and bowtie, his appearance is at odds with the environment he finds himself in. The way this communion of opposites works is down to each individual to judge – however, there might be some kind of consensus in looking at nature as an escape from day to day life – whether it is a job or a troubled personal relationship, nature always understands and welcomes anyone looking for shelter and solace.
Unfortunately, not all is rosy with Naturae – the biggest problem is its lack of a clear direction. While the video editing is expertly done and showcases abundant good taste, some scenes simply do not gel together well enough from a thematic viewpoint. A chase through the forest from an unknown, most likely metaphorical assailant turns into a naked awakening – perhaps symbolizing a rebirth – without many contexts, even for an experimental project. The individual scenes hold profound value, but they lack a definable chemistry with one another. Another negative aspect is the repeated interaction of the character with the camera – completely unnecessary and non-value adding.
All in all, however, Andrea Baglio’s roughly 15-minute long project feels less like a film and more like an experience, which is most likely its aim all along. Despite its rather static nature and lack of clear dynamism or even a story arc, Naturae doesn’t drag on and should have something to tell to each and every viewer. Worst case scenario, it offers some breathtaking views accompanied by great music – but it undoubtedly does more than that.