The gods and monsters within each of us come to life in New York-based multimedia artist Risha Gorig's engaging and thought-provoking experimental project Gods and Monsterss, a visually arresting journey through the struggle of seven main characters as they interact with each other and the world around them - seen and unseen.
Gods and Monsterss is less worried about narrative storytelling than it is creating an atmospheric, experiential film that incorporates several of the art forms for which Gorig is rather well known including dance, music, painting, kinetic art, video art, and performance. Gods and Monsterss is a cohesive and coherent film for those willing to surrender themselves to it. It's easily understood, though every moment is meaningful in that moment and it's the kind of film best experienced on a bigger screen and, preferably, with a decent audio system.
Gorig herself makes for a compelling figure, an obviously intelligent and insightful artist with equal parts artistic bravado and quiet vulnerability. There's an undeniable spirituality to her words and images and one can't help but feel Spirit moving through her film.
Many of the forces at work in Gods and Monsterss are unseen, or at least experienced beyond the realm of the tangible human experience. The film's ensemble cast is clearly in touch with Gorig's vision, though to single out an individual performance would be impossible as everything contained within Gods and Monsterss connects.
Gods and Monsters is almost completely a one-woman effort, a low-budget project that at times makes that evident only because Gorig is consistently pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved within the realm of microcinema. Cynthia Duarte is credited as costumer for the film, though Gorig is pretty much credited with everything else including writer, director, cinematographer, editor, special effects, visual effects, set decoration and, of course, producer.
What's rather remarkable is that she performs all the tasks quite ably.
Gods and Monsterss is not for the casual moviegoer. You'll likely never find the film at a multiplex, though it would be right at home inside your corner arthouse theatre being viewed by discerning cineastes. Personally? I found the film incredibly moving and enchanting, moments of remarkable tenderness at times crossing paths with darkness as is, let's be honest, so true of life and the people that we love, like, and even hate.
It's difficult to describe the experience that is Gods and Monsterss, though perhaps that is for the best as it is a film best experienced for oneself. This is the kind of film that sneaks up at you on the indie, experimental, and microcinema fest scene and it's also the kind of film that will leave you contemplating it for days and telling your friends they ought to see it.
Gods and Monsterss is not, I should say, a film for the kiddoes or the easily offended. It is FAR from offensive, however, the imagery does embrace the human experience and sometimes that human experience is a little bit raw. It is an unrated film, though likely equivalent to an "R" rating.
While Gods and Monsterss may not be for everyone, those who give themselves to it will be richly rewarded with one of 2022's most original and inspired cinematic experiences.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic