I think in all my short work so far I have been exploring the themes around beauty and desire that shape Entropic, my first feature film. I’ve been fascinated with short stories like Barbara Gowdy’s “We So Seldom Look on Love” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” where a young woman and a village, respectively, look on the bodies of their beloveds and find things sublime, even though the beloveds are dead or drowned. What does it mean to look directly upon the beloved? Is there a truth to be found or are we doomed like Roland Barthes’ amorous subject, doomed to take the clock apart in an attempt to reveal time?
What this seems to reveal is how we fetishize and project upon the ones we desire. I was inspired by performance artist Marina Abramovic’s project The Artist is Present where she sat in the Museum of Modern Art for three months while strangers sat opposite her, having often strong and profound experiences while sitting with her. “Was I a mirror? It felt like more than that. I could see and feel people’s pain … I don’t think people ever really look into themselves. We all try, as much as possible, to avoid confrontation.” The premise of Entropic forces this confronting space where the people on the list who have elected to spend time with M come, instead, face to face with their own desire.
Aaron, the one who elects to take care of M through this weekend, is given the opportunity to confront the way he objectifies the world, the people, around him. Particularly M. I wanted the film’s vocabulary to be about desire, about what we can’t see, want to see, and perhaps are eventually disappointed to see. We live in a cultural context that is heavily critical of objectification but scapegoats it, with little space for reflection on how it is part of the matter of how we see and know the world. And yet, for Aaron the journey from fetishizing M and those who come to spend time with him becomes in a way about love.
The other piece is beauty, how we construct it, how we covet it, how we, ultimately, have no mercy or sympathy for it. For M, the confrontation with all these desires, he hopes will set him free. In Krystof Kieslowski’s Bleu, the protagonist Julie seeks her own liberty too when, knowing a man harbours a secret desire for her, she sleeps with him and then says “But you see, I'm like any other woman. I sweat. I cough. I've cavities,” as though she is setting him free. Her plan, like M’s in Entropic, is a fool’s plan, desperate. But in a way, this brief unconscious death he chooses still promises a new life. One where he could be any other man. And who are we to deny him that.
R. W. Gray's has directed several short films that have appeared in festivals around the world and received acclaim. "Zack & Luc," "aidos," and "Choke Hold" all garnered wide festival play and accumulated multiple awards. "Entropic" is his first feature film as a director.
"Gray’s stories of unfulfilled need dance the line between unnervingly erotic and darkly familiar. Reading Entropic is like peeking at the dark space in your heart, hoping to see a light." full review
~ Chelsey Stuyt, Beatroute.ca