Silva, one of the most surprising and scintillating figures to emerge in 21st century experimental cinema, drops an audacious first feature in Rock Bottom Riser, a sparkling essay film which, in addressing the worldview of indigenous Hawaiians, fluidly touches on matters pertaining to ethnography, geology, and the mysteries of the cosmos, while using a dizzying variety of filmic techniques. Prehistory, the pop present, and possible futures are effortlessly woven together around an inciting event—protests by the indigenous population against the erection of telescopes on the sacred peaks of Mauna Kea—allowing Silva to consider not only this island and its bubbling volcanos, but Earth’s position as an island in the immense sea of space. Visually sumptuous and constantly stimulating.

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