Stylistic Choices and Metaphors. This Rain Will Never Stop // Verzió X ELTE

Alina Gorlova’s documentary This Rain Will Never Stop is a war documentary very different from the conventional documentaries on wars. It presents war in artistically, to rather show its impact on the people. yet we still are kept at a distance from the bombs and blood visually, which are usually a part of war documentaries. Alina Gorlova has incorporated different artistic choices to guide us through Andriy’s life and the impact of war on his family. Some of these artistic choices are the chapter-like structure of the film, the black and white visuals, and the use of water and earth as metaphors.

The first artistic choice is the segmented structure, with chapters from one to nine. This kind of segmentation directly raises the question about its possible purpose in the viewer's mind. While it can have various interpretations, for me somehow points to the fragmented trauma discourse which Cathy Caruth talks about. This fragmentation makes us think of the fragmented memories and experiences that war is creating in people’s lives and the problem is that there is no explanation of any event. Each of the events that happen has to be put in an order to construct or gather the fragmented life experiences. That’s why I think that incorporating these fragmented sequences and putting them in a conscious narrative construct helps the viewer to understand the complexity of the experience and trauma of war involved in one’s life.


The second artistic choice is shooting the whole film in black and white. This use of black and white visuals sets the tone of the whole film. It begins with visuals of mountains that look like pictures from Mars or some other planet, and seem like a dystopian land without the presence of any human. The use of black and white visuals somehow removes the identity of the place being portrayed; hence the place shown can be anywhere. Without understanding the context we would not be able to guess which place exists where. This characteristic makes the film more of a universal problem instead of a country-specific problem. The characteristic of black and white can also have lots of metaphoric meanings in different contexts such as good or bad, truth and lie, life and death, good and evil, war and peace. So, these black and white visuals suggest the interconnection between these two opposites such as in this case “war and peace”. These elements strongly direct us to think about the Ying-Yang symbol, as even the director calls these visuals a sort of ‘Ying-Yang stylization’.


This Rain Will Never Stop


The third artistic choice that serves as one of the key metaphors in this documentary are the emphasized water sequences. Beginning from the title of the film, we can see water as a reference point, as the rain and flooding becomes a hurdle in the way of Andriy’s to cross to Syria. This title metaphorically points out the reality that war is something that will never stop. We can also point out the reoccurrence of this motive during the whole film, and working in a metaphorical manner. The flooding scene suggests the hurdles in refugees’ life from naturalistic as well as political reasons. Daily we hear lots of news about refugees trying to cross rivers and seas in the most dangerous ways, for a better life (one recent and tragic example that got attention was the picture of the little boy, Alan Kurdi). That’s why I think that the use of water bodies somehow highlights all the hurdles that refugees have to go through. These hurdles are not always naturalistic but are imposed by other nations who do not understand the suffering of these people. In conclusion, these artistic choices make the film different from the other war documentaries and it is very much successful in taking the viewer through a journey where they can understand the real consequence of the wars.


Hamza Ayub

ELTE Film Studies