Her eyelids lay heavy, struggling not to shutter completely over her hazel-spotted pale blue eyes. Tears crystallize, balancing upon the bottom lids, grasping to defy gravity. In a voiceover, she speaks softly of abandonment—this is Lexi, the protagonist of No Light and No Land Anywhere, played with a subdued depth by newcomer Gemma Brockis. Introduced in a fragile state fueled by a broken marriage and the loss of her mother, Lexi heads from London to Los Angeles in search her father John (Richard Sealey), who abandoned her as a child. Upon arrival in the unfamiliar city, she is met with a dismal setting and feeling of alienation. Inside her motel room, an appetite for junk food and liquor appears to be the only nourishment for the frail Lexi, and the desire to reconnect with her father is the only conviction keeping her from breaking down entirely.
Within this depressing odyssey, writer/director Amber Sealey (who has been more of an actor before now in British films like The Good Night and Big Nothing) confronts her audience with a miserable, uncomfortable reality in which any semblance of hope passes without a trace. Whether it’s strangers or estranged family members, the few characters with whom Lexi engages are no more hopeful than she is, and meaningful emotional connection evades her with each passing minute. No Light and No Land Anywhere is bleak, and may be best viewed as a portrait of alienation and perseverance despite despondency. It is within the awkward moments of silence between characters that the drama provides its most convincing portrayal of the complexities of human sadness.
For the most melancholy of viewers, the conclusion may prove unfulfilling. But in a film in which hope, resolution and meaningful connection consistently evade the protagonist, maybe it’s not without reason that Sealey has denied her audience the finality of a Hollywood happy ending in favor of the more honest nature of open-endedness.
No Light and No Land Anywhere
Center for Contemporary Arts,