After happening to see it projected at MoMA last year, I’ve been haunted by the collage of stunning images that is Reynold Reynold’s 2002 short film, titled Burn. And for the filmmaker, whose background lies in philosophy and physics, he impresses his scientific methods and the knowledge of how the slightest alternations can have a penetrating impact into his work. Employing a cinematic language rife with decay and transformation, he “transfers experimental methods of science to filmmaking, where he frames reality in his laboratory and changes one variable at a time to reveal an underlying casualty.”
Working with mainly 16mm as his medium, Reynolds’ Burn evokes a strong sense of drama through its anti-narrative structure, allowing us to have our emotions heightened by the collapsing world of the characters, rather than their response to it. In the short, we observe as a house burns room by room, object by object, from the inside out, as the people inhabiting it seem to carry on about their business. As the flames rise and the people inside the home sit idyll, it’s a haunting and poetic immersion into Reynold’s affinity for allowing his audience to observe the “small frames we use to understand reality” and the delicacy with which they’re altered.