Screened at the Raindance Film Festival in London as well as the Shanghai International Film festival this year, The Ninth Cloud is Jane Spencer’s latest indie drama about a woman, her strange friends and their existential dilemmas.
Zena (Megan Maczko) is a vulnerable and naive young woman who lives her life in a daze. She’s chosen to move to London “to seek a new life, after something terrible happened in my old life”. We are not quite sure what happened, but we understand something is not quite right as we learn of her manic obsession with Bob (Michael Madsen), a struggling American artist.
The Ninth Cloud is all about Zena’s childlike inner world, her bizarre interactions with extravagant and poor bohemian lowlifes and wealthy, decadent British aristocrats. Often looking up the sky, wondering “if dying is like falling out of the sky backwards” and other similar dilemmas, occasionally Zena addresses the camera with her deep, beautifully large, dark eyes, trying to bring us into her wanderings. We follow her mediocre, delusional existence with confused disbelief as she falls in love, seeks to make a change in a young boy’s life and struggles with the misunderstandings that her mental health brings about on a daily basis.
Overall, The Ninth Cloud felt a bit too surreal for me; its constant drive to existentialism over mediocrity is at times irritating. However, there is something quite original in the way it brings its characters to a close and often homages glorious cinematic movements from the past. If you are looking for something different, give it a try.
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