a study in black + white
"a study in black+white", the latest cinematic collaboration between the photographer/director/cinematographer kristie klein (who goes by the nom de plume babycakes) and the singer-songwriter/composer/pianist/actress moogy morgan, might just be their finest artistic creation yet.
it is a stroke of genius on babycakes' part to film moogy, who is clad in all-black, against the stark whiteness of a wall in some anonymous urban environment. the simplicity of this minimalist mise en scene enhances rather than detracts from moogy's performance, for it forces the viewer to focus on her and her only, and not be distracted by any extraneous details. the brave directorial decision to make this a film without any sound must also be commended, for the silence only further accentuates the film's intrinsic mysterious beauty.
taking inspiration from such legendary silent stars and mime artists as chaplin, buster keaton, tati and marceau, and blending all those influences into her own unique style, moogy's performance triumphs over the silent, black-and-white canvas to bring into being a world of sounds-yet-unheard and colours-yet-unseen.
the rich palette of emotions in her soul (and indeed, in all our souls) - agony, pain, frustration, anger, despair, ecstasy, fulfilment, satisfaction, love, joy, mirth... are conveyed solely through the incredibly intricate postures of her lithe body (there are hints there of the influences of yoga and ballet), and through her inexhaustible reservoir of sublimely nuanced facial expressions. i was particularly taken by the eloquence of her luminous eyes, which effortlessly communicated her ever-changing inner states.
with her almost impossibly supple physique, moogy contorts herself into bodily configurations that this viewer has never as yet witnessed another person assume. nor can this viewer even find the words for some of the emotions that she conjures up, but such is her uncanny ability that she is able to convey even the ineffable je ne sais quoi through her physicality alone.
there is an undeniable grace, allure and subtlety to moogy's acting, but there is also the inexorable, primal power. an element of undisguised, unabashed sensuality is present too, but it never descends to the level of gratuitous lasciviousness, for it is desire conveyed in its most pristine, most natural form. this sensual aspect is an integral part of her performance, just as love and desire are integral parts of all of our lives.
it is one of the most passionate, most authentic portrayals of what it means to be alive that has ever been committed to celluloid. for the sake of art, moogy journeys fearlessly into her deepest, rawest psyche, and never shirks away from revealing the darkest inner truths that she uncovers there. this enables all of us to vicariously experience the cathartic release that such self-discoveries inevitably engender. this is one of the reasons (amongst many others) why this viewer was left spellbound and affected to the very core of his being by her performance.
and yet, "a study in black+white" is more than just a stunning cinematic creation, for it is also an unflinching account of moogy grappling with her inner monsters, slaying them and triumphantly liberating her inner self. it is truly a bravura performance, for, in effect, moogy is simultaneously playing the role of the fair maiden in mortal danger, as well as the role of the knight in shining armour who comes to the maiden's rescue.
i will not shy away from declaring "a study in black+white" to be a cutting-edge, revolutionary film that is sure to set the standard for cinematic art for years to come. i strongly urge everyone to make the effort to see this film, for it is a crowning achievement both for its director, babycakes, and for its star actress, moogy morgan. in fact, this one-of-a-kind, sui generis film demands repeated viewing.
if there is one complaint that i have it is that this film is over so quickly—its three hour duration just flew by, so beguiled was i by moogy's performance and by the film's beautifully simple and simply beautiful storyline. and so this viewer is shouting out, nay, demanding "encore! encore! i want to see more!" to babycakes and moogy morgan.
words by boris glikman