Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα 71st Venice Film Festival. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα 71st Venice Film Festival. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα, 3 Νοεμβρίου 2014

Reality (2014) by Quentin Dupieux

71st Venice Film Festival 

(first published in the e-book of Nisimazine

REVIEW: Reality by Quentin Dupieux (France, Belgium) – Orrizonti

Quentin Dupieux, director of the infamous Rubber (2010), has come to Venice with luggage full of distorted realities or better to say a strange need to explore the idea of mixing everybody's dreams, making us wonder if anything of what we saw was part of a twisted game. “Reality” struggles hard to find the necessary balance between its real purpose – if there is any - and the overachieved surrealism it inevitably shares.

Jason is a peaceful cameraman living in California. He is dreaming of making his own film, where television sets are the most dangerous thing in the whole planet. They produce those weird kind of waves that slowly make humans more stupid, while their ultimate goal is to extinguish them. He approaches Bob Marshal, a film producer, who gets overexcited with his crazy idea. He will sign the deal as soon as Jason gets the perfect groan in 48 hours.

But Jason's is not the only story we discover. A young man working as a TV presenter on a food program has an unstoppable need to scratch himself, thinking there is something terribly wrong with him, while everyone else thinks he is overreacting. A young girl witnesses a videotape coming out of the insides of an animal, while her father cleans it in order to embalm it. Nobody believes her, but we will come to know that this videotape somehow is the answer to loads of questions. All of those stories, as distant as they might seem with each other, they share something in common; the same confusing connection that leads to nothing more than a dead-end.

In the world Dupieux has created, parallel dreams stream like parades of surrealistic thoughts and acts on one's self and the perception of reality. While the first scenes seem indifferent, you do get hooked on the way the story evolves. The head-exploding music makes sure to achieve that in a conscious but also a deep subconscious level, while the physical effect of it can be disturbing for some time after you watch the film. You too immerse in a deep dream along with the characters. You too step by step lose the sense of reality presented to you.

Dreams lost in dreams in an endless maze with no exit signs. A surreal world where nothing makes sense and somehow everything fits in a distorted kind of way. This is what is being achieved through Dupieux's direction and the narrative he has chosen. His images betray his blurry vision though and the fact that none of these has any clear purpose, only to throw us into the endless world of dreaming.

The moments in the film that are meant to be humorous, fail to communicate any connection with the content. This constant attempt to revive the plot with funny moments is not enough to explain any of what is being shown. While Dupieux can't stop mixing his narrative, we keep wondering how such a promising idea of dreaming in a dream got stuck in all those flat characters and their tiresome realities. This flatness is probably used on purpose in order to intensify the hollowness they carry or probably the fact that they are just plain visitors in those dreary dreams.

There are many questions raised about the definition of our dreams as much as the perception that we have for the realities that surround us. For some of us it is complicated – or intentionally complicated - like in Dupieux's mind and for some others is simpler or indifferent. Those questions only meant to be left unanswered in a film that flirts with the vastness of the subconscious and manages at the same time to convey a frustrating self-conscious feeling. If you have never been lost in a dream, this is your chance to discover how that might feel. Are you ready?

Δευτέρα, 27 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Word with Gods (2014)

71st Venice Film Festival 

(first published in the 4th newsletter of Nisimazine

REVIEW Words with Gods by Guillermo Arriaga, Emir Kusturica, Amos Gitai, Mira Nair, Warwick Thornton, Hector Babenco, Bahman Ghobadi, Hideo Nakata, Álex de la Iglesia (Mexico, USA) – Out of Competition

Religion is part of human history. People always try to define their lives through the temporary answers religion offers. Words with Gods though, deals with multiple questions without falling in the trap to give ultimate answers. It has managed to convey different universal and cultural aspects of human religions creating a respectful and divine whole.

Writer and director Guillermo Arriaga gathered nine acclaimed directors and gave them a mission; to depict their thoughts on spirituality and their perception of God through different religions. Every director chose the religion he/she felt closer to without imposing or manipulating. The purpose of this mosaic was to show truthfully, through a series of diverse stories, the relationship with God. This film is innovative on how it approaches its subject, without escaping being 'heavy'. Every short story is connected visually by the amazing animations of Maribel Martinez and is escorted by the breathtaking score of Peter Gabriel. Those 9 short stories were put in order by Nobel Prize winner writer Mario Vargas Llosa confirming the project's ambition to be remembered beyond Venice Film Festival.

With intense cinematography the first story begins with a pregnant woman walking alone in the Australian desert, in order to find the perfect place to give birth. Having no dialogue, True Gods of Warwick Thornton talks about Aboriginal Spirituality and the strong relation between humans and Earth, expressing how divinity is evident more than ever when the miracle of birth occurs and that true gods are those who have the gift to create those wonders.

A woman after being beaten gathers her clothes and runs out of the house. Her husband will not hunt her down. He will sit on the couch unable to cope with the fact he lost everything. Wandering in the streets of São Paulo, he seeks comfort in his own existence. He has become a lonesome traveler searching for the meaning in life when he discovers a local group of Umbanda and loses himself. In The Man Who Stole a Duck Babenco has managed to give graciously a story about grief and solitude, enhancing the importance of religion to human suffering.

A big wealthy family has just bought a big apartment in Mumbai, arguing over who is getting which room, doubting about where God's rooms should be. Light and colorful, in God's Room Mira Nair talks about Hinduism through the eyes of a young boy, who has trouble synchronizing with his family disputes. He sees through their pretentious behavior the truth about God residing everywhere around us but mostly deep inside us.

Japan 2011. A fisherman has lost his entire family in the destructive tsunami. He is struggling to make amends with why God didn't choose to take him instead of his family. During a conversation with a Shinto Buddhist monk – the strongest scene of the film – he doubts God himself, raising questions of death and loss in the heaviest and most emotional story of all by the hands of horror master Hideo Nakata.

Perhaps the only politically charged film, Book of Amos of Amos Gitai explores, through passages from the Hebrew Bible, Israel's current state in contrast with its past. Words of social balance and equality are said during a fight between soldiers and civilians in a passionate one-shot film, on an attempt to represent divinity and define its essence.

Dark humour and witty dialogues in a story of a ruthless hitman who manages to escape from a failed mission only to be captured by destiny in a self-discovery misfortune. Examining the idea of sin and forgiveness, this tale handles Catholicism without falling into ridiculousness. Comic and smart Alex de la Inglesia's film offers loads of discussion.

A Christian Orthodox priest living in the Serbian countryside takes on a journey of atonement by cleansing himself from all sin. Carrying bags full of stones, he starts climbing on a hill under the hot sun in order to purify himself from the world's suffering. On his way up he will encounter evil, but mostly himself, realizing the necessity of suffering in order to survive. Kusturica purely elaborates on Christian faith, strengthening the importance of torture and distress for achieving grace.

The struggles of conjoined twin brothers on finding a solution between their different desires are shown in an intelligent and divided way in Ghobadi's film. One is craving for a sexual relationship with a woman while the other is devoted to Islam, contrasting lust and faith on a tale about duty and human nature.

The last chapter of Guillermo Arriaga's, God's Blood ends with Death in a poetical depiction of atheism, leaving us with mixed feelings. While the group of the directors has managed to explore courageously their own creativity, it would be useless to compare them or even try to. Whether you believe or not and whatever your cultural and religious background is, you will find yourself wandering about what you saw and coming back to various aspects of this film only to realize the vibrant conversation it manages to open for humanity.