JULY 10 - JULY 13, 2024

Review | Call of the Void

J.M. Stelly’s Film Delves Deep into the Darkness of Human Mind


Movie: Call of the Void
Director: J.M. Stelly



“My soul is a black maelstrom, a great madness spinning about a vacuum, the swirling of a vast ocean around a hole in the void, and in the waters, more like whirlwinds than waters, float images of all I ever saw or heard in the world: houses, faces, books, boxes, snatches of music and fragments of voices, all caught up in a sinister, bottomless whirlpool.”

― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet


The “Call of the Void” is a term used to describe the inexplicable urge some people feel to jump from high places, run their car off the road, or do something else that could result in their own death. While it may seem like a strange and disturbing phenomenon, this feeling is actually more common than you might think. The call of the void is not a desire to die, but rather a feeling of curiosity and fascination with the unknown. It’s the same feeling that drives people to explore new places, take risks, and push themselves to their limits. The difference is that instead of exploring new physical or mental frontiers, the call of the void is a desire to explore the boundaries of our mortality.

Director J.M. Stelly’s movie Call of the Void is about this strange eerie sensation that makes people plunge into the dark recesses of their minds. In the movie, we follow the journey of a man called the Painter. As he falls into the trap of opium addiction, different maddening vistas and sounds open up to him. The film traces how a person descends into madness and how painful it is to live with such morbid emotions.Call of the Void is a thorough investigation of the horrors of internal darkness and the isolation that human beings confront without the presence of their inner light.

The plot is remarkably straightforward, as we witness the Painter’s fall into madness, caused partially by his dependence on opium as well as a component by the events that occurred in the first world war.

M. Stelly is a seasoned director. His film is an exceptionally creative and intriguing  film Call of the Void showcases multiple issues such as discomfort, addiction, grief, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, survivor’s guilt. The movie also crosses the threshold of supernatural and other worldly sensations through its treatment. The film is set in the early twentieth century and rightfully goes back to the paranormal gothic setting that evokes the fear of the unknown. The visuals in the film might remind one of the settings of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. The Victorian gothic style of the film helps in the development of the plot and keeps the tension intact. J.M. Stelly also incorporates  German Expressionism to show the state of mind of his protagonist. It is important to note how craftily he has presented Nietzschean philosophy. What is more commendable is how he never tries to preach his audience, and it is safe to remark that the director deeply trusts his audience.

There are many theories about why some people experience the call of the void. Some experts suggest that it’s a form of anxiety, while others believe it’s a subconscious response to stress or trauma. For some, it may be a way to regain a sense of control in their lives or to challenge themselves in a way that feels exhilarating.

While the call of the void may seem dangerous, it’s important to remember that most people who experience it never act on it. In fact, many people find that simply acknowledging the feeling and recognizing that it’s a normal part of the human experience can be enough to lessen its intensity. However, for those who do act on the call of the void, the consequences can be devastating. It’s important to seek help if you are experiencing these feelings or if you know someone who is. A therapist or mental health professional can help you develop coping strategies and work through any underlying issues that may be contributing to these feelings.

In conclusion, the call of the void is a complex and often misunderstood phenomenon. While it may seem like a morbid curiosity or a sign of mental illness, it’s important to recognize that it’s a normal part of the human experience. By acknowledging and understanding these feelings, J.M. Stelly opens up a new way of approaching this phenomenon, and that is extremely commendable.

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