The title card may be the most prevalent of cinema’s slim parcel of exo-dramatic punctuations. It is usually quiet, functional, and deferential to the film’s internal rhythm. In Pacco Fanti’s Sure! A Myth of Three Creations (Brazil, 2018), the title card heralds a threshold between worlds.
What precedes it could not be more radically or materially separate from what follows. An expositional mixed-media collage of assorted mid-00s digital freeware, narrated with lugubrious atonality by an automated text reader, gives way to a self-contained animation: a 2D world of construction-paper stop-motion, imbued with jinking, jerking tempo by a four-piece jazz score.
The prologue frames the animation as the playback of an alien tape, excavated from a remote Pacific atoll and depicting a creation myth from the ‘cutout planet.’ By dint of its place on the tape itself (in subtitle, seemingly translating a pictogram of three cutout colour blobs) the title – that which we are used to seeing hover a step ‘above’ a film’s drama – is now nested a layer beneath it, titling a film-within-the-film. The effect is a subtle formal sublimation: an extraneous element subsumed into the film’s internal reality and meaning (we are on our way, after all, to a planet named after the film’s ‘cutout’ animation technique).
Even the tools used to construct the expository sequence assert their own filmic language, with their repertoire of on-rail movements (slideshow zooms; Google Earth swivels) and the poverty of their fabrications (photographs crudely shopped in MS paint; the abovementioned robot narrator). What messages and textures are imposed by these inherent languages? Could an outsider distinguish them from the content they convey?
A gnomic animation proceeds in which worm-like lifeforms interact with a higher entity. A piece of paper handed down from on high is passed around rather carelessly, its content four coloured blobs, translated as “you are right.” The message, itself another nested drama (within a tape, within a film) crumples and uncrumples as it thrice changes hands, its raw material deconstructed and reconstructed, just as Fanti, in the meta-narrative, is toying with the tactile formalisms of film. The three readings might be the three creations – but the effect is indirect, the repetition suggesting an affirmation conferred but not understood. If something is created, it may not be what was intended. Formal construction distorts even divine intent.
The tape ends, the music fades. A single credit slide communicating Fanti’s name fades up – again a subtitle translating a cutout pictogram – and after it, in parting, a displaced full stop, easy to miss, but something of an emblem of the film’s essential preoccupations. It lingers on the screen stripped of meaning or placement, hanging like a singularity between worlds.
'Sure! A Myth of Three Creations' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2018.