Ab Intra (2010) – By Matt Barry

As a sequel to Ab Aeterno, Ab Intra provides an intriguing follow-up to the character of Raymond Marlowe and is perhaps even superior as a kind of exploration of the creative process and a glimpse into the creative mind.

A wonderfully evocative title sequence opens the film accompanied by a haunting score, which recalls a kind of baroque composition. The last whisps of smoke from an extinguished cigarette in an ashtray conjure up images of the characters and tone of the film quite well. The scene in which the Raymond Marlowe character takes out a cigarette perfectly connects him with what we’ve seen in the title sequence.

Overall, the sound design is effectively sparse. Key sound effects are present to enhance the mood without being overbearing or obtrusive. The use of voiceover is particularly effective in establishing the weakness of the main character. What’s interesting in this case is that the voice over and the images work independently of eachother; the voice over providing rich exposition in its interplay between the male and female voices, while we see the writer, on-screen. The moment in which Marlowe takes out a pick-ax from behind the couch introduces an intriguing moment of surrealism in to the proceedings, match-cutting to a scene in which Marlowe uses the pick to dig up a copy of a book from the ground.

The repeated use of the dialogue, “I could have broken you” (coming from the female voice), and the reply, “You did break me” (spoken by the male voice) sum up the character’s state of mind, and provide a kind of summation of the narrative, suggesting an extreme inner conflict (which is emphasized in the credits, calling the male character “The Self”, and the female character “The Conceived”).

The film ultimately seeks to explore the nature of the creative process, and the effects of that process on the writer himself.

Ab Intra was directed by Jared Feinstein, and is presented by Tetragrammatos Productions.