‘An Oversimplification of Her Beauty’ [Review]

By Desha Winborne

CINEMATIQ Magazine Review:  An Oversimplification of her Beauty

Illustration By Stephanie Matthews

Produced by Terence Nance, James Bartlett and Andrew D. Corkin; written and directed by Terenece Nance; cinematography by Mattew E. Bray and Shawn Peters; sound design by Vincent Wheeler  animation by Emory Allen, Hannah J Buck, Sam Corey, Coire Dangerous, Audrey Halgand, Markus Kempken, Leo and Natasha, Jeanne Mailloux, and Timo Prousalis; Illustration by Stephanie Matthews and Iyadede edited by Terence Nance; featuring Terence Nance, Namik Minter, Chanelle Pearson. Color, 93 min., English. USA. A UrbanWorld 2012 Spotlight.

Terrance Nance explores the complexities of modern relationships in his first full length feature.  The film follows our fearless director through a single moment in time as he dissects, evaluates and analyzes his friendship with the lovely Namika who seems to be oblivious to his romantic advances. Inspired by an evening which found him lacking her once promised company, Nance uses this event as a catalyst and entry way into the depths of his romantic inadequacy.

This film was pieced together by combining rare footage with a short film entitled: “How Would You Feel?”  The distinction between the two works is explained early on by way of a faceless narrator. The original short is barely half an hour and this new revamped edition is a staggering 90 minutes.  Though this is the standard minimum of most features, most features have an actual story arc and present far more than clips, voice overs and animation. While much of this film is entertaining it is merely far too much of a good thing, and by good thing I am referring to Vance.  While Vance is most assuredly an attractive enigmatic young man, his image is prominent in nearly every scene.  When he can’t be seen he is heard, taking over from the original voice of the film.  Though it is understandable since he is writer, director editor and star some of the scenes are superfluous and do nothing more than allow fans to gaze upon his visage.  In particular there is a scene in which he is simply enjoying several lollipops.  The scene does not move the story along or hold with it any obvious symbolism; it is merely another verse in this 90 minute ode to himself.  Though mostly ego driven, this motion picture is not without heart.  Viewers of this talking picture will be treated to a seldom seen part of our fearless director.

Nance leaves his heart open and bares his soul to his audience allowing a rare glimpse into a very important chapter in his adult life.  In a rare feat for most he manages to appear both confident and insecure. In his lackluster pursuit of Namika he is unsure of her feelings and thus belittles his own romantic leanings.  Rather than express himself fully he relies on her to see beyond his futile attempts at gaining her favor only to run into hiding once it appears he may have been found out. Hurt by what he decides is her unintentional rejection he re-opens old wounds revisiting in his mind his past romantic entanglements for answers which results in a repetitive loop as he plays scenes over and over again both in live action and animated form.

This film’s saving grace is the poetic quality of the narration.  The seamless, and seemingly endless, flow of words adds a spoken work element that is easy to get lost in.  While this element is surprising and adds a much needed softness it is also a great indicator of the passage of time.  The voices and word choices seem to grow and evolve with the progression of the film, acknowledging Nance’s growth as a man.  If you find yourself in a screening for this film, do not expect a movie in the traditional sense.  Expect instead an experiment of images and sounds, brought together in love.  Love of cinema, love of Namik and most importantly love of Self.

Watch the trailer

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Copyright © 2012 by CINEMATIQ Magazine/ BROWN-ROSS Publishing a wholly company of Our Stories Productions, LLC. Email for permission to republish this article.

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