Stars of the human race

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polish version below.

When the main character of the newest Lanthimos movie appears in the school office while desperately looking for the solution of his burning issue, he’s welcomed by his daughter’s teacher, who praises Kim’s latest essay on Ifigenia’s story. In the myth, the daughter of Agamemnon has been saved by Artemida from being killed by her father in the very latest moment. The salvation for Ifigenia was a sacred deer, which was sent by the goddess to be sacrificed in the girl’s place.

However, in the world which author of “Lobster” has created, you will look in vain for the force majeure. “Light it up, like we’re the stars of the human race, the human race” sings Kim to the boy from the worse neighboorhood (great Barry Keoghan’s role) who will willingly cast a curse on the whole rich family. It’s a man that disposes of a divine power here, but its privilege turns into a shackle as a result of a mistake. As if in the name of talion law, the almighty surgeon will be required to give an eye for an eye, at the same time being put on the horns of an unsolvable dilemma, which is typical for the Greek tragedy.

It’d be difficult to imagine a better candidate to adapt the myths. Lanthimos with each of his following movies since widely recognized “Kynodontas” has been establishing an image of a director who performs a ruthless vivisection on the society with a little help of unobvious metaphors. The myth could appear to be a good mean to again tell the story of our modern callousness. Notwithstanding in the case of “The killing of the sacred deer” it seems a better idea to put the film in the frames of the genre, leaving the interpretation for the viewer.

In his first feature-length movie titled ,,Kinneta” (2005), Lanthimos used the form of the anti-thriller, portraying a reconstruction of the crime, during which the actors recite aggressive verses and throw punches without any emotion. Later on, in “The Alps”, “Kynodontas” and “Lobster”, he decided for the same expression of his characters, making the dialogs a bit unreal –  as if they were a declaimed rhyme rather then a full-blooded conversation. In mentioned above “Lobster”, this convention adds an aura of uniqueness and underlines character’s isolation in the dystopian world where there is no place for singles; however, in the newest Lathimos movie it stings the eyes as a rather ludicrous mean to express the cold relations in between the members of a rich family.

Maybe the reason is that, in contrary to Lanthimos previous films, this one lacks the forest techno dances, siblings playing dogs or the threat of changing into an animal. Grotesque humor or fantasy elements could counterweight the gloomy reality and the grim truths that the director is trying to tell us through mythological allegories. What’s only there is the grudge that gradually overpowers the family. We have no idea about its source, maybe because Lanthimos is trying to direct our attention to the tragedy of surgeon’s dilemma. This dodge, unfortunately, makes the portrayed world difficult to believe in.

Some means which made Lanthimos famous, still don’t let us down. Long and medium shots, operating the background and the interiors in the way so that the spectator feels trapped in the represented world – all these still work, resulting in proper goosebumps.  Nonetheless, it seems that in this case the director looped himself while focused on polishing up the unmistakable author style which made him famous and (as Aronofsky in his newest “Mother!”) explaining the public what the hell it’s about.

 

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Gdy bohater najnowszego filmu Lanthimosa pojawia się w szkolnym sekretariacie, szukając desperacko rozwiązania dręczącego go problemu, nauczyciel chwali jego córkę – Kim, za ostatnie wypracowanie oparte na historii Ifigienii, córki Agamemnona, w ostatnim momencie uratowanej przez Artemidę przed śmiercią z rąk własnego ojca. Ratunkiem dla Ifigenii jest święty jeleń, którego zsyła bogini, by został złożony w ofierze zamiast dziewczyny.

Jednak w  świecie, wykreowanym przez twórcę “Lobstera”, na próżno szukać sił wyższych. “Light it up, like we’re the stars of the human race, human race” śpiewa Kim chłopakowi z gorszej dzielnicy (świetna rola Barry’ego Keoghana), który ochoczo obciąży rodzinę klątwą. To człowiek dysponuje tutaj boską władzą, której przywilej zamienia się w jarzmo na skutek błędu – prawem talionu, od wszechmocnego chirurga zażąda się oka za oko, przy czym zostanie on postawiony przed charakterystycznym dla greckiej tragedii nierozwiązywalnym dylematem.

Trudno wyobrazić sobie lepszego kandydata na adaptatora mitów. Lanthimos każdym swoim kolejnym filmem od czasu głośnego “Kła” ugruntowuje wizerunek reżysera dokonującego bezlitosnej wiwisekcji społeczeństwa z pomocą nieoczywistych metafor. Mit mógłby wydawać się dobrym środkiem do ponownego opowiedzenia o współczesnej znieczulicy. Jednak w przypadku “Zabicia…” lepszym pomysłem wydaje się osadzenie filmu w ramach gatunku, z jednoczesnym pozostawieniem do dowolnej interpretacji.

 

W pierwszym pełnometrażowym filmie Lanthimosa, “Kinneta” (2005), posłużył się on formą antykryminału, przedstawiając rekonstrukcję zbrodni, podczas której aktorzy bez emocji recytują agresywne kwestie i zadają mechaniczne ciosy. Tak też prowadził aktorów w późniejszych “Alpach”,“Kle” i “”Lobsterze”( którym z greckiego gruntu zgrabnie przeniósł się na Zachód), odrealniając dialogi, by przypominały raczej deklamowanie wierszyka, aniżeli pełnokrwistą rozmowę. O ile jednak kontynuowana we wspomnianym wyżej “Lobsterze” konwencja nadaje filmowi aury wyjątkowości, podkreślając wyobcowanie bohaterów w dystopijnym świecie, w którym dla singli nie ma miejsca, w najnowszym filmie wybrzmiewa raczej niedorzecznie, choć relacje zamożnej rodziny także epatują chłodem.

 

Może dlatego, że w opozycji do poprzednich obrazów, brak tu leśnych tańców do techno, zabawy w psy, czy widma zamiany w zwierzę.  Groteskowy humor, albo obecne w przedostatnim dziele elementy fantasy, mogłyby natomiast przeciwważyć ponurą rzeczywistość i to, co reżyser próbuje nam przekazać za pomocą mitycznych alegorii  Jest za to klątwa, która stopniowo obezwładnia bohaterów. Nie wiemy nic o jej źródle, może dlatego, że Lanthimos próbuje skierować nasze rozważania na tragizm dylematu chirurga. Ten unik sprawia jednak, że trudno w ten świat uwierzyć.

Pewne środki, z których Lanthimos słynie, wciąż jednak nie zawodzą. Dalsze i średnie plany, operowanie tłem i wnętrzami w taki sposób, by ‘uwięzić’ widza w przedstawionym świecie – to wszystko nadal działa, skutkując gęsią skórką. Wydaje się jednak, że w tym wypadku reżyser zapętlił się, skupiony na nadawaniu dziełu autorskiego sznytu, którym przecież zasłynął, i (jak z resztą Aronofsky w najnowszym Mother!) wyjaśnianiu widzowi, o co właściwie tutaj chodziło.

 

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What’s wrong with Mother! ?

 

[polish version below]

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Jennifer Lawrence’s role in Mother! distances her totally from the previous emploi of a young, tireless woman, pursuing her aim against all odds. She constantly obeys her partner – the Poet, even though she doesn’t really relish the idea of accepting the avalanche of unannounced visits. First two quarters of the movie neatly build the tension, deriving from Polanski’s and Kubrick’s classics. Following Lawrence together with the hand-held camera, which doesn’t even abandon her for a moment, we quickly get used to her new secure incarnation and start to share her growing disquiet.

Unfortunately, still in the first half of the movie, Darren Aronofsky ruins precisely built suspense introducing a parade of symbols. What’s worse, he wants us to decode them all, moreover, we should do it the way he desires. The avalanche of biblical allegories will eventually end, but not until the director decides, that all has been handed to us (on a plate) – it’ll happen in a third act surmounted by a truly embarrassing scene, when the Poet, holding Mother in his arms, declaims a testamentary quote.

However, it’s possible to do it well. Lewiatan (2014) could serve as an example, being fully based on a biblical parable about Hiob, as it introduces following element’s of main character’s torment in an order that complies with the biblical fragment. Finishing the second act, Zwagnicew even places in the plot the talk of the despaired protagonist and a priest which directly quotes a Hiob’s story. The parable is a movie’s framing but not by accident, as it becomes a great foothold to sketch Russia’s realistic portrait including the specifics of its corrupted structures – authorities, church – and a role of a usual citizen in all this. Following biblical threads, such as the betrayal of Kola’s friend or disappearance of the wife, even if treated briefly, let us take a closer look at that rotten system.

What is wrong with Mother! then?  It doesn’t respect the spectator. The time we manage to read the biblical code – which should happen rather quickly, considering that in the moment of first guest’s appearance, Aronofsky decides to speed up the narration pulling us right into the middle of biblical series of unfortunate events – we unintentionally start to collect uncoded symbols in our memory, not noticing any other aspects of his film. This way the director trips himself up, cutting off our ways to an independent interpretation.

 

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Jenifer Lawrence gra w Mother! postać zupełnie dystansującą ją od dotychczasowego emploi kobiety silnej, niezmordowanej, dążącej do celu wbrew wszystkiemu. Swojemu partnerowi poecie wciąż ulega, choć nie jest jej w smak całe zamieszanie związane z lawiną niezapowiedzianych wizyt nieproszonych gości. Pierwsze dwa kwadransy filmu zgrabnie budują napięcie, czerpiąc w najlepsze z klasyków Polańskiego czy Kubricka. Śledząc Lawrence wraz z prowadzoną z ręki kamerą, która nawet na moment nie spuszcza jej z wizjera, szybko przywykamy do nowego, asekuranckiego wcielenia Matki, a jej rosnący niepokój zaczyna nam się udzielać.

 

Niestety Darren Aronofsky jeszcze w pierwszej połowie filmu niszczy budowany suspens z pomocą parady symboli, co gorsza- pragnie, abyśmy wszystkie je rozszyfrowali i to na jego modłę. Lawina biblijnych alegorii nie skończy się, dopóki reżyser nie uzna, że wszystko widzowi jasno wyłożył – czyli w trzecim akcie, zwieńczonym żenującą sceną Poety trzymającego Matkę na rękach, któremu wepchnięto w usta testamentowy cytat.

 

A przecież można zrobić to dobrze. Za przykład służyć mógłby choćby Lewiatan, w całości oparty na przypowieści o Hiobie, wprowadzający kolejne elementy udręki głównego bohatera w porządku zupełnie zgodnym z biblijnym fragmentem. Kończąc drugi akt, Zwagnicew umieszcza w fabule nawet rozmowę zrozpaczonego protagonisty z kapłanem, który wprost cytuje hiobową historię. Przypowieść jest szkieletem filmu, ale nie przez przypadek – stanowi doskonały punkt zaczepienia do naszkicowania portretu Rosji wraz z charakterystyką jej skorumpowanych struktur – władzy, kościoła – i roli, jaką w tym całym systemie odgrywa zwykły obywatel. Jej kolejne wątki, jak zdrada przyjaciela czy odejście żony, mimo, że potraktowane pobieżnie, pozwalają przyjrzeć się zepsutemu systemowi pod każdym możliwym kątem.

 

Co jest więc nie tak z Mother!? Brak tu szacunku dla widza. Gdy uda nam się odczytać biblijny klucz – co powinno nadejść dość szybko, biorąc pod uwagę, że w momencie pojawienia się pierwszego gościa, Aronofsky postanawia przyspieszyć narrację, wciągając nas w sam środek biblijnej serii niefortunnych zdarzeń – mimowolnie zaczynamy kolekcjonować w pamięci rozszyfrowane symbole, przestając dostrzegać jakiekolwiek inne aspekty filmu. W ten sposób reżyser sam podstawia sobie nogę, odcinając widzowi drogę do samodzielnej interpretacji.

on hautingly beautiful David Lowery’s “Ghost Story”

(polish version below)

 

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The Film industry made us used to a realistic image of the ghost. Even if it’s marked with some features straight from the netherworld, usually its human shape is kept. David Lowery turns the cliché upside down, dressing up the ghost in the sheet straight out from Halloween party.

 

Although his expression consists only of head turns, the static figure evokes more empathy than its cousins gifted with a human face. The ghost, just as the living ones, keeps things bottled up – even though, as we could assume, death should have freed him from the yoke of our mundane worries. He happens to be jealous, becomes depressed, breaks the plates in an act of frustration; he experiences mourning as intensively as his lover left alive. He, however, doesn’t receive a chance to verbalize these feelings to anybody – not even to the spectator, which is forced to guess what’s hidden behind the white material. Ghost, even in its grotesque costume, has quite material existence; that’s why that seemingly absurd trick not only defends itself but also helps us to commiserate. He’s also strangely photogenic – ascetic blueish frames wonderfully expose a figure in the sheet, staying for long in the memory. His disguise is also a clue, that we’re confronting a totally different genre than those that usually come to mind when we think about ghosts. Afterlife embodiment of C becomes rather a pretext for philosophical contemplation.

 

Before we get there, the test awaits us. A few minutes’ scene of cake consumption picturing a need to compulsively fill the void after a loss, becomes a capstone of all experiments conducted on an audience. Previously, during not even a quarter of an hour, the director confuses us; he opens a film with dreamy sequences in the spirit of slow cinema, then he deceives us with a thriller motive, keeping a lazy sundance aesthetics. This pawky move could look as if Lowery was showing off. The length of the mentioned scene ( straining the nerves of the audience almost as much famous as Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman…”) finds its later substantiation in the context of the freshman ghost. Just after the scene, narration speeds up, gaining quickly a huge velocity, as the ghost breaks up with understanding a time in the way living humans do. As a result, the infinity becomes a while, and a while – all eternity.

 

The title suggests an obvious analogy; in some sense, the narrative is still a love story, even though the lover of the ghost won’t get a chance to believe in him. Most of the fundamental questions about the meaning of life, which have been weaved into the plot, end up open; maybe because all the attempts of answering end up with a return to the start. That happens all over again to our constantly lost C. The motive of a loop sneaks through the story, mostly under the shape of little things left by the following inhabitants of the house, until it’s summed up in a thrilling monologue of one of the guests on the party, which is observed by the ghost.

 

If we look at “A Ghost Story” through the prism of an essay on evanescence, a simple ( sometimes even boring) story seems to be a legitimate choice. A couple of unexpected tricks turns quite a hackneyed plot concept into a fresh movie. Undoubtedly, what helps is an almost total abridgment of dialogue – it leaves a wider space for interpretation. It’s fair, because this film helps with introspection, messing up with our heads with quite a sad question: what means anything or does anything mean something?

 

 

 

 

 

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Z duchem czasu

 

Przemysł filmowy przyzwyczaił nas do realistycznego wizerunku ducha. Nawet jeśli naznacza się go jakimiś cechami rodem z zaświatów, zwykle jego ludzkie oblicze zostaje oszczędzone. David Lowery wywraca utarty schemat do góry nogami, ubierając ducha w prześcieradło rodem z Halloween party.

 

Mimo, że jedyne źródło jej ekspresji stanowią obroty głowy, statyczna postać wzbudza w nas więcej empatii niż jej kuzyni, obdarzeni ludzką twarzą. W duchu drzemią bowiem wszystkie emocje, które towarzyszą człowiekowi za życia – choć śmierć, jak można by przypuszczać, powinna zdjąć z niego jarzmo przyziemnych zmartwień. Bywa zazdrosny, popada w depresję; w przypływie frustracji tłucze talerze. Przeżywa żałobę tak intensywnie, jak jego żyjąca partnerka. Nie ma jednak szansy, by komukolwiek uczucia te zwerbalizować – nawet widzowi, który jest zmuszony się domyślać, co kryje się za białym materiałem. Jest też, o dziwo, fotogeniczny – ascetyczne błękitnawe kadry pięknie eksponują postać w prześcieradle, na długo zapadając w pamięć. Jego przebranie stanowi przesłankę, że mamy tu do czynienia z zupełnie innym gatunkiem, niż te, z którymi kojarzy się obecność duchów. Pośmiertne wcielenie C stanowi raczej pretekst do filozoficznych rozważań.

 

Zanim do nich dobrniemy, czeka nas próba. Kilkuminutowa scena konsumpcji ciasta, obrazująca potrzebę kompulsywnego zapełnienia pustki po stracie, jest zwieńczeniem eksperymentów, jakim poddaje nas reżyser. Wcześniej, w ciągu niespełna kwadransa, wprawia nas w konsternację; gdy otwiera film sennymi sekwencjami z życia zwyczajnej bezimiennej pary, by następnie niepokojącym akcentem zapowiedzieć kino grozy, jednocześnie zachowując niespieszną, sundance’ową stylistykę. Z pozoru taka przewrotność może wydawać się tanim popisem reżysera. Długość wspomnianej wyżej sceny znajduje jednak późniejsze uzasadnienie w kontekście ducha – nowicjusza. Tuż po niej, narracja przyspiesza, nabierając wkrótce zawrotnego rozpędu, bo duch rozstaje się z pojęciem czasu w dotychczas znanej mu formie i tym samym wieczność staje się dla niego chwilą, a chwila – całą wiecznością.

 

Sam tytuł sugeruje oczywistą analogię; w pewnym sensie historia jest nadal love story, mimo, że bohaterka nie otrzyma szansy, by w ducha choćby uwierzyć. Większość fundamentalnych pytań o istotę życia, które wpleciono w fabułę, pozostaje otwartych; być może dlatego, że wszelkie próby odpowiedzi kończą się powrotem do punktu wyjścia. To właśnie przydarza się nieustannie zagubionemu C. Motyw zapętlenia historii przewija się w opowieści, głównie w postaci drobnych przedmiotów pozostawianych przez mieszkańców domu, by znaleźć objaśnienie w porywającym monologu jednego z uczestników imprezy, którą duch obserwuje.

 

Jeśli spojrzymy na “ A Ghost Story” przez pryzmat eseju o przemijaniu, prosta, czasem wręcz nudna historia wydaje się słusznym wyborem. Zastosowanie kilku przewrotnych trików sprawia, że dość oklepany zamysł zaskakuje świeżością. Bez wątpienia pomaga w tym niemal całkowite pozbawienie filmu dialogu, pozostawiające widzowi szerszą przestrzeń do interpretacji. I słusznie, bo to film sprzyjający introspekcji, mącący w głowie dość ponurym pytaniem: co ma znaczenie, lub, czy cokolwiek je ma?

 

JT LEROY – this story’s based of fake events.

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The Guardian has called it ¨perhaps the most succesful and sustained of any of the hoaxes¨. Laura Albert says: It was not a hoax.

It wasn´t a well-considered plan, or, rather, it wasn´t a plan at all. Laura Albert has adopted the identity of teenage prostitute´s son in purely therapeutical purposes, at least that´s what she claims- she wouldn´t be able to write as a woman about painfull things engraved in her own memory

Everyone knew him. JT Leroy, teenager with vague sexual identity who managed to get away from the hell of Southern truck-stop prostitution world into which his own mother immersed him and who has put his terrible experiences into writing thanks to the suggestion of psychologist dr. Terrence Owens- as it turned out, in suprisingly sophisticated form.  The doctor shared his discovert with his neighbour, editor, Eric Willinski, that one has contacted JT with his favourite poet, Sharon Odds. That´s how the first collection of short stories written under the name ¨Terminator¨has seen the light if the day and thereby the legend was born, soon growing on such a large scale that the author couldn´t disentangle herself from it.

Celebrities have fallen in love with Jeremiah ¨Terminator¨ Leroy at first reading, declairing emotional catharsis they have been experiencing with every chapter. Winona Ryder was thanking ¨from the bottom of her heart¨, Courtney Love, Bono, Tom Waits, everyone was bombarding JT´s voicemail with thank-you messages and he, morbidly shy, hidden behind huge glasses, was trying to deal with unexpected fame. Since the begining, particular voices have been defending the thesis that Terminator could never have existed, being an alter-ego of Gus Van Sant or other art world figures. The legend was swelling, the stars were swelling with pride and Albert, as british social worker called ´Speedie´who rescued JT from the streets, was appearing incognito on public readings.

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Talking with Vice, Jeff Feuerzeig, an director of the documentary Author: The JT Leroy Story stumbled across the book ¨Sarah¨ by accident. Refering to his binge read on a long plane travel, he says:

¨Laura Albert had left the clues that she wanted to tell, that she had a secret but she wasn´t ready¨

She had her reasons. During her speech recorded couple years after the true has came to light, she points out the group home where she has been living as a teenager as a place where she´s started soaking up with stories and looking for a way to express her own.

I´m on this writing classes and everyone´s looking at this one cool guy…[…] and I´m in group home, and I´m looking at him and I wanted to be him because he matches the voice and I don´t want him to know it´s me cause it´s gonna ruin it¨

Feuerzeig´s documentary features the story as unbelievable as famous Searching for a Sugar Man. However, instead of holding out on us, he puts his cards on the table, letting Albert admit: I am JT. The story is carried by her and in opposite to copybook docs her voice is not really confronted with the others. This choice of narration exposes the strongest and weakest part of all the legend created- Albert´s personality. It becomes a confession but with no regret. Albert never says sorry and never will- she’s strongly convinced she did the right thing letting the show go on.

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The books gained amazing success mostly because of one factor- their value is corelated with emotional resonance of author´s authentic  experiences. Almost every review before exposing the hoax reffered to the fact that the story is based on life of JT. As says Susan Vega, quoted in the introduction to Sarah- ¨JT Leroy has a gift ti be able to articulate his world so dearly[…] without glossing over the pain and brutality of it¨. Another quote, from Jerry Stahl, sounds a bit ironic in the new context ¨Whatever young LeRoy had to live through to write a book like this, we´re lucky he´s here.¨ Basically, Sarah and ¨The Heart…¨ lacking the root of authenticity, in the eyes of critics turn out to be a cheap story using shortcuts and threadbare archetypes: fanatic Southern Christians, degenerated truck drivers and drug- addicted hookers.

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The story of adaptation starts the same way as it did with the documentary. Asia Argento has read the book and became so attached to the character of JT that she decided to put it to the screen. Asia’ s second film as a director is filled with grotesque, brutally bombarding the spectactor with uncomfortable scenes of abuse; it lacks any ornamentations, in certain parts being simply ugly and repulsive.  Looking at her most recent “Misunderstood”, glamorous adult fairytale, it’s hard not to notice the lift at the level of aesthetics. The acting of Asia featuring title role- Sarah, abusive irresponsible mother of Jeremiah, overwhelmes as she seems to constantly fight for the foreground. New York Times has crushed the movie after the truth came out; not only ms. Argento’s skills as a filmmaker have been criticised, but the movie itself was called “well-high unwatchable” partiallly thanks to the quality of source material.

‘ They called me fake fiction writer’ she laughs in her speech.  People were angry, offended and craving for revenge for making the fools out of themselves. But at the end, how does it matter if JT exists if these devastating child stories have and will exist and Albert has put the light on it.

Moloch! Poetry on the screen.

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We all remember that scene: Robin Williams a.k.a John Keating cleaning his tutor desk and his students standing to attention, saying goodbye with ´´oh captain, my captain´´, famous Walt Whitman´s verse. Dead Poets Society, however gloppy it was, remains one of the most famous movie on poetry and poets. Poetry is fotogenic, but dangerous too- it´s easy to fall into all these corny schemes. These are the ones that didn´t.

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Argentinian movie seems to be a bit otherworldly. The director hasn’t been afraid of the kitsch, with different results: sometimes we’ll be amazed by the poet’s monologues, sometimes we’ll look away with embarassment. Here the poet talks with his poems, lives his poems and absolutely believes in his mission which turns out to be enlightening the society about the misery of life. His chase for a perfect muse and his walks with death portrayed as a black dressed, reasonable, 90s dressed woman (sic!) are at the same time a journey through the misty side streets of Buenos Aires . The poet declaims his verses from behind the windows of the cars waiting on the red light and to confused cashiers in the bank. The film captures the thing that suprised me travelling through South America- the art meets the everyday life, as on every bus there is someone singing, rapping or turning their life failures into slam-like monologues. The main character, like a modern Werter, wanders around gin mills of la Boca shady port neighbourhood with an anguished face and a cigarette in his mouth, being very much reminiscent of an intersection of Wojaczek and L’homme qui dort.

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A little dose of kitsch never harmed anyone; even if a talking cow and the flying couple cumming together is a fatal overdose, I’d still recommend the movie as an insight to Argentina’s culture.

WOJACZEK

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Speaking of Wojaczek, the polish movie named after the poet is one of the most extraordinary biographies of my homeland literature figures. Rafał Wojaczek, the representative of postwar generation of poets, has been living shortly and intensively; quarrelsome lifestyle filled with alcohol and meds has led him to few suicide attemps- the last one, at the age of 27, has ended his life. The movie features his evolution as an artist starting from the teenage years at his silesian postindustrial town Mikołów, where he has been constantly agitating a provincial community with his vanguard behaviour, to life in Wrocław- the last german stronghold reattached to Poland after hundreds of years and total demolition at the end of second world war. Paradoxically it flourished as a place of artistic initiatives, gathering the most outstanding personages of literature and other fields of art.

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The use of black and white suprisingly adds a subtle elegance to the grey reality of early communist period. The artists get wasted in honky-tonks and declaim their pieces on the tables and it´s not fun anymore, it´s a cry for help. Picturing the sad but important episode in polish history, the movie is at the same time an introduction to the fascinating poetry of Wojaczek, often compared to Rimbaud and Lautréamont- vibrant and vanguard, using the body metaphores with all its hideous sheath to reflect the emotional states.

PATERSON

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Paterson, named after the town where he was born, where he is living and working as a coach driver, writes poetry. In typically Jarmush style we observe seven days of his life, day after day, repetitive as Groundhog Dog’s. As director claims, this repetitiveness comes from his fascination for duality starting from when he was a child.

¨I love the repetitive verses in poetry, he says in an interview with Wyborcza, the structure of Bach´s compositions, multiplied canvas of Andy Warhol, he says. That´s why I wanted to do a movie in which every upcoming day is a copy of the last one- with one different element.¨

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In contrary to majority of movies on the subject of artists, neither anyone discovers Paterson nor his life changes anyhow- his poetry stays safe and sound in his closely guarded notebook, to the great dissatisfaction of his girlfriend hungry for his and hers success, convinced that his voice has to be heard. Instead climbing to the top, Paterson just craves for his own peace. Poetry here is rather a tool for a contestation of reality and observation of casual occurences. It also may be perceived as a terapeutical tool. Paterson´s past lingers through the film, mostly locked in photographs;  as we can see, before moving back to his hometown and starting his driver´s jobs, he had been an apprecciated solider. The instictive reaction of taking the plastic gun away from the actor in one of the bar scenes and the way he organises the life itself- without suprises, with an unshakable routine might be a veiled clue to PTSD syndrome, which is self- treaded with writing, especially if locked in the sock drawer.

YONA

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We constantly follow her on the screen, her fuzzy hair and wandering eye, she leads us through following stages of her unstable life- Yona Wallach, Israeli poet who became famous because of her adamant work stuffed with sexual metaphors. The people she meets on her way are portrayed taking her into account, dimmed with her authoritarian personality and although it could generate opinions that it´s hard to identify with her story, that goes well with her poetry- written in first person, often seditious ( her poem Tefillin published in 1982 combined sex and religious artefacts and was widely commented by media and governement figures). The only typically biographical movie in my compilation has been nentioned here mainly because of a stunning performance of Naomi Levov. Yona herself has been a ready-made material for a movie as her life filled with sexual experiments and creative crisises has driven her to the brink of insanity. The poems reflect it- complex but formally negligent, they hadn´t convinced me at the first glance. This movie is a proof to the power of interpretation. The passion that Naomi has put into Yona´s work made me discover a new quality.

HOWL

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The movie, instead of portraying the life of the artist with the poetry in the background lets us look deeper into his personality  put in the perspective by deconstructing his most famous artwork- Howl. Three-level narration allows us to simultaneously observe the obscenity trial launched 1957, the series of interviews with Ginsberg and the poem illustrated with a breathtaking animation echoing his chaotic style of writing. This uncommon construction, at the beginning a bit confusing, helps to fully understand one of the most influential American poems and the flag work of the Beat Generation. With all due respect to Daniel Radcliffe, Franco becomes a Ginsberg, playing with his specific mimics and voice modulation. The animation turns out to be a great formal choice when it comes to the dense language and the context of the epoque captured in the poet. Mary Louise Parker is another highlight.

There is no Beat Generation- claims Ginsberg in the interview. Apparently, there was and the lecture of the poem is the cherry on the top, when it flows and hits- with the beat. Obligatory movie for everyone fascinated with the beat culture.

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FUTURE STARTS SLOW: over L´Avenir by Mia Hansen-Løve

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When two years ago I was about to choose the courses for my upcoming erasmus semester, what drew my attention first was the cinema one. I was even more interested considering the fact, that the course tutor, during the opening day, refering to my forever-love-France-and -french-culture-and-people declaration, has foretelled: You´ll hate it. I hate it.

I hadn´t known yet, that instead of cinema, the course will focus on the society captured with a watchfull eye of the camera. Until then I associated french cinema with poster screenshots from A Bout de souflle, fringes and over-the-top monologues recited by grumpy characters with cigarettes held in mouth. However, watching the profesor´s selection of movies, the society issues was an important, but still, background. In raw, sometimes lazy narration I´ve found the rightest approach to the human being itself.

Human and mechanisms of his winding thoughts have always been the center of interest for the seventh muse, especially for the french one, and that´s why it´s so easy to hate it or love it- the action has been given up for the dialogue and the prosaic pictures of everyday life, where outwardly insignificant element can ruin the fragile equilibrium. In all that plot simplicity there comes a real challenge; put yourself in the boots of other ordinary person, with all her or his spectrum of imperfections and try to assimilate his emotions in its purest form.

This is what Mia Hansen-Løve does in her newest film, aprecciated at the festivals all over the world. The true-born woman portrayed with unearthly naturality by one of one of the best living actresses Isabelle Huppert, has to deal with the series of unfortunate events- her husband leaving her for another woman after 25 years of marriage, pschycotic episodes of her ill- balanced mother and unprofitable changes including her own publication. Being used to associating the maturity rather with looking back, we can´t help but feel a sting of resentment when discovering that for the teacher, catastrophical changes are a prelude to liberty. The future hides in a loss and lack of certainity, as her beloved Descartes used to emphasize.

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Mulitlevelness of this simple story allows everyone to find their important lesson. Talking with her ex student, she refers to the marriage breakdown. It´s not easy, she says, but fortunately I have a rich intelectual life. For me, what´s brought to the fore in the movie, is passion. As in previous Hansen´s-Løve movie, Eden, we can observe the evolution of it; this time, instead of young dj, the mature teacher sheds some different light on it. Philosophy pushes Nathalie to reorganise her life without an unnecessary drama, becoming her magnifying glass. With a cartesian rationality she observes how her former life collapses into pieces and doesn’t try to put it back in the same order. It doesn´t mean that she hasn´t her moments of weakness. However, she  gets up and embraces what future brings. Some would call Nathalie cold. But seeing in everyday life all these woman imprisoned in their airless relationships, where partner is the main point of interest, I find her rather a free person. As Mia Hansen-Løve claims in the interview with Indie Wire, that was her objective:

I am telling a story about a
character who is free, in all ways in which she can be free. It’s really about
freedom, about a woman who loses everything, and at the point when she’s lost
everything, she finds herself. It is about how inner freedom can help you
through the hard times in life. It’s about faith, strength and it all depends
on freedom. Philosophy is really about that, too.

Philosophy, as it often happens, could be an obstacle for the general perception of the movie, but here it´s rather an integral element of Nathalie large-scale portrait. Confronted with the dillemas of her former favourite student and other young anarchists, building an alternative little community on the province of Rhone-Alpes region, she says: I´ve been there, but doesn´t get involved in a further conversation. She avoids giving a statement on the student´s protest against the reform. Just let me work, she repeats all over again. She loves philosophy, but until her world tears apart, she does not really have time to apply it in real life.

 

The main reason why Things to Come amazed me, is the fact, that you choose your own punch line.

BARCELONA : BOSTIK FILM FEST 24-26/02

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WHEN: 24, 25, 26 of February 2017

WHERE: Carrer Ferran Turné, 11, 08027 Barcelona (metro station: La Sagrera)

The last week of February there is a chance to take part in a little film festival- BOSTIK FILM FESTIVAL– organised in the heart of vibrant artistic postindustrial barrio of Barcelona. Some of you might have visited the place already, as monthly event of EAT STREET is settled in the bostik´s warehouse area. This time, it will transform into the temple of short-metrage.

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Besides the official selection screenings, you can expect the cinematographic karaoke, carnival party, discussions and meeting, including one with the representants of Barcelona´s ZUMZEIG, which will explain the new cooperative model of management, sneaking into the world of cinema. Another debate will focus on the development of Northern American cinema of last decades, its influences and conotations with politics.

you will find official blog of the festival here.