Taming the Garden

2022-04-07T16:53:20+00:00Categories: Docs in Review|

Taming the Garden Director/ Salomé Jashi Watched on MUBI Rating 2.5/5   What does a filmmaker owe their audience? Do they owe them the answers to the basic questions, the who-what-why-where-how? No, of course not. They don’t really “owe” their audience anything, but if a filmmaker makes a film they want seen, rather than a film that is a pure expression of personal art that does not seek viewers (but one that viewers may stumble upon in an art gallery), there needs to be some attempt at providing the basics of engagement, if for no other reason than to prevent the viewer from constantly checking their phone or a printed brochure during the film’s running time in order to read the director statement or the critical review that might provide clues to what is happening on screen. Taming the Garden, the frustratingly vague and exceedingly over-praised offering from filmmaker Salomé Jashi, is such a film. Rigorous to the point of monotony, abstruse without being in any way experimental, plodding to the point of inertia, yet with just enough visual information and editorial chicanery to keep a viewer wondering where it’s going, the movie could not exist without the sycophantic support of the film festival post-screening Q&A and the EPK (electronic press kit) critiques that trail in its wake like eager puppy dogs seeking their own claim to relevance. Where would festival grandees and the badge-wearing arthouse press be without films like Taming the Garden to preen on about, to coddle the filmmaker, and to elevate the [...]