An exuberant and decadent music video in the style of the disco ages? Or maybe an experimental short film based on a mythological pretext to portray a modern saturnalia? It’s hard to say. However, ‘Janus‘ is a surprising project, regardless of the viewers’ expectations. Obviously, the mythological core approached by Chris Paraskevas should not be ignored, but, in the flamboyant cinematic composition he intends to make, it seems rather a pretext. We are not, therefore, in front of an elitist, “academic” short film, intended only for the “initiates”, despite the narrative voice that tells the episode of the party organized by Romulus for the Sabines, a party destroyed by the god Janus. However, the unpredictable temperament of the Roman god seems to somehow justify the torrent of glittering kinetic images that suddenly alternate with more… carnal scenes. The result is rather a sensory experience that defies the classical structure of a conventional narrative.


Apart from the narrative interventions in the voice over, we do not have a concrete action, as the characters do not interact dialogically. In fact, the characters that populate this dance floor lit by a disco ball are flashing shadows, purely ornamental figures that break the fourth wall and, like mannequins, fill the space of a stage that recycles retro elements in a specific atmosphere. We notice, in this sense, the very theatrical character of the entire composition through which the director seems to combine the aesthetics of a music video with the demands of a theatre-dance show. Hence, the dramatic conflict is limited to minimal gestures, suggested rather by musical and chromatic changes. Similarly, Chris Paraskevas’s camera captures a succession of unitary images or couplets of images with close-ups and clothing or gestural details that appear to be manifestations of some internal “parentheticals”. The parallels between the mythological pretext and the contemporary elements tend, in the end, to express a fairly clear artistic idea, but perhaps insufficiently well explored: the patterns imposed by the myths of humanity have not disappeared but have only adapted themselves in other forms and meanings over time. It is up to the viewer to decide whether this more or less original idea is sufficient to replace the lack of other elements that could better coagulate this experiment. And yet, even if the lack of more organic coherence risks affecting the entire project, ‘Janus’ is an intriguing experience even only for the director’s courage to defy many of the rules we are used to.