Baltimore City Paper Critic Pick

Best to put aside your notions of narrative or character development when watching Shunka, a lush paean to life’s mysteries filmed in South Dakota’s Badlands. Sure, there are a few characters—among them Donna, a psychic who helps a family come to terms with ghosts in their old farmhouse, and Ed, an old soldier who tools around a reservoir in his fishing boat—but there is no story, per se. Rather, Shunka is a feast of image and sound. It features some of the most beautiful cinematography we’ve ever seen, weaving snippets of conversation and macro closeups of animals, people, and insects going about their business with wide panoramas of that vast, big-sky country landscape. A Walt Whitman influence suffuses Gardella’s first feature film, and you leave with that open-ended appreciation of life’s tiny wonders, but no conclusions. Lovely.
– Tim Hill
Baltimore City Paper 5/4/2011