Poetic documentary, between trope and cliché.
Costa da Morte
dir. Lois Patiño, 2013
Genre: poetic documentary
There is currently a lot of poetic documentary work that is in a similar vein. Static shots, locked down camera, often in telephoto or at least long shot, digital cinematography, and sound design done in “close up.” I thought of these when watching Costa da Morte, a poetic documentary about the Galician coast and the villagers’ relation to their landscape. I do think that Lois Patiño has a distinctive eye and that Costa da Morte activates the tropes of contemporary poetic doc for interesting thematic ends. And at times (such as the passage of the seasons), it departed from a strictly contemplative pace. But in so many ways, it feels like one example of a larger genre and hews fairly closely to that genre.
Which makes me wonder about the time-scale of aesthetic innovation. I still think the poetic approach seems fresh, in part because so many technological and narratological developments are interacting in various permutations. But at some point, maybe soon, maybe in the medium term, these tropes will likely seem like cliché.