Fern Silva’s debut characteristic “Rock Backside Riser,” an experimental documentary that explores people’ relationship to nature in Hawaii, brings consciousness to how the deliberate development of a 30-meter telescope on Mauna Kea, the archipelago’s most sacred mountain, might have damaging results on Indigenous communities.
The movie is a psychedelic tour of the islands, leaping from picture to picture and interweaving voice-overs or scenes with lectures on the cosmology, astronomy, historical past and science of Hawaii. By means of a few of its photos and narration, it urges viewers to contemplate the methods by which science could be a colonizing pressure, additional marginalizing native Hawaiians and their conventional modes of inquiry whereas serving to to criminalize their dissent. In a single scene, an unidentified narrator says that makes an attempt by Indigenous folks to protect the mountain have been reported as “threatening violent acts” by astronomers, resulting in police intervention.
Silva presents a Hawaii doubtless unfamiliar to vacationers, relying not on seaside landscapes however on volcanic lava, mountainscapes and dense forests. Viewers can hear a automotive rev offscreen whereas palm bushes swing at sundown. Elsewhere, two males fill a smoke store with outsized Os created with the smoke from their vapes. Silva jumps from the cosmos, to a surfer catching a wave, to historic paperwork and equations. These visuals, which typically conflict, present people’ tenuous relationship with nature.
The movie is typically arduous to comply with, as a result of the connection between the pictures and the voice-overs shouldn’t be at all times clear. However taken as a complete, “Rock Backside Riser” leaves viewers with a powerful sense of how native Hawaiians view themselves and their future, and encourages inquiry into how their land could be preserved.
Rock Backside Riser
Not rated. Working time: 1 hour 10 minutes. In theaters.