Jump directly to the page contents

It begins like a pop song. There’s a you, there’s an I, and there’s nothing in between. “I’m so happy you found the time to be here, baby.” Where are we anyway? The frame is filled with hyper-saturated colours, different colours caressing each other; it’s impossible to say where one ends and another begins, cyan becoming magenta, passing through baby blue along the way. We have no choice, but to surrender and follow the voice. There’s two of them actually, one glitch talking to another, neither human, nor natural, voices produced without organs. They have some shared past, but it’s of no great importance. What matters is here, what matters is now. “I’m so happy that you made it, baby.” It’s oddly reminiscent of Carly Rae Jepsen: “You gotta believe in me…We are super natural.”

It’s like a pop song, but it also feels like a type of hypnosis, a meditation, a trip, a mash-up, a state where the shape we’re given becomes hazy.

Is this what mermaids see when they close their eyes? When they open them again, we see sleeping bodies, swimming bodies, rainbows, a couple of crabs, a couple of mermaid princesses, a rock-mountain, spider robots, screaming dragon fruit, a flower gang bang, a crystal ball, digital tears, dust and air. Endless body. Everything body. “Every day euphoria.”

It’s like a pop song, but it also feels like a type of hypnosis, a meditation, a trip, a mash-up, a state where the shape we’re given becomes hazy. A film full of bodies of the most deliriously different shapes becomes a film about forgetting one’s own body, feeling it dissolve, about bodies entwined with their environment, bodies entwined with other bodies. Bodies of no fixed shape or form, neither solid nor liquid nor gaseous, but mutable, malleable, always becoming. All it takes is a green tail or a soil-coloured boxing glove to be a mermaid or The Hulk. Part human, part superhero, all skin.

A mermaid is not only a hybrid being, but also traverses different environments. Skin enveloped in water, skin enveloped in air, skin as a film, a membrane that allows things to flow through us, a form of encounter, a new sense of perception. Different bodies, different membranes, different films. Filming the ocean with a Super 8 camera is not the same as filming it with an iPhone, each experience produced is unique. The film rushes wildly through CCTV webcam footage and Instagram feeds, live-action and animation, celluloid and digital.

Different bodies need to be filmed differently too. SUPER NATURAL proposes a distinct way of filmmaking, one that does not come from a single point, but rather creates in-between perspectives, a film about being together made together, a series of fragments, each made on its own terms, an amalgam of moments, many heres and nows, the surface of the screen transformed into a billowing, shimmering tissue where they all meet. As such, it works with a form of narration that dares to give up on preconceived notions of what a story is and how it is to be told, who tells it and how it should feel, and invites us to do the same. Wonderfully intertwined, this is how bodies create themselves anew, one image at a time.

“I do not make decisions outside the Universe and then plunge in, like an Olympic diver. I am already in. I am like a mermaid, constantly pulled and pulling, pushed and pushing, flicked and flicking, turned and opened, moving with the current, pushing away with the force I can muster. An environment is not a neutral, empty box, but an ocean filled with currents and surges”, says Timothy Morton. “Earth should be called Ocean,” the film replies. The answer in turn: “We are all mermaids. We just haven’t figured it out yet.”                                 

Dane Komljen is the director of AFTERWATER, also screening in Berlinale Forum 2022. Read Jorge Jácome’s reflection on the film here.

Back to film

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur