The Third Path is the first full-length film by Jimmy Cohen. The filmmaker describes his film as a “non-narrative film essay that explores the boundaries between reason and passion, life and death, reality and fiction, work and fun, and the ordinary and the mythical.” This means that The Third Path does not have a single storyline like most Hollywood films.
It is interesting that Cohen describes his latest work as a cinematic essay. Before having the chance to watch the film, I watched other cinematic essays that were quite different from this one. Some of them were pretty dry and boring, others were just too difficult to understand, but The Third Path was entirely different since it allowed me to construct my own interpretation. This is one of the features of the film: it does not have a clear thesis like most essays, so it allows the spectator to create its own meaning of it freely, without having the constraint of thinking, Did I get what the filmmaker was trying to say?”
The film was shot in Mexico City, rural areas across Mexico, and New York. Because of this, we get to see a contrast of images from cities and towns, which is part of the reflection that Cohen is going through with his handheld camera. While watching the film, we could ask questions like what is the city? What is the kind of world we are currently living in? What is cinema, and what is the task of the filmmaker? These are only some of the questions that came to my mind while reflecting on Cohen’s “essay.”
Most of the images in the film were not staged. Instead, they were shot in the “natural” moment in which the filmmaker felt they had to be captured. In this sense, The Third Path is a low budget—almost no budget—film that went through a lot of hours of post-production work. (It took Cohen no less than two years to finish!) This means that the director spent most of his time putting the images together, editing, and creating the soundtrack for the film. When asked about the cost of the film, Cohen said, “This film shows that today, you don’t need a lot of money to make a good film. You only need to have a clear idea of what you’re doing and the discipline to work for lots of hours in the studio, which is my computer.”
The Third Path has been distributed widely across Mexico and the world, in festivals, independent cinemas, and cinema clubs, where film lovers get together to watch and discuss films of this sort. Now is the time for this piece of visual poetry to come to Peterborough! Trent Film Society will be showing this film on Wednesday, October 16 at 8pm at Artspace, and you are all invited to come!