How to distinguish the bad from the simply worse? How to find the very essence of the ridiculous, the banal, the fae? Paul Schrader says that at a time like this we step on the
How to distinguish the bad from the simply worse? How to find the very essence of the ridiculous, the banal, the fae? Paul Schrader says that at a time like this one that we step on in which all the rules seem to be overcome, when each canon is discussed or essentially false, which until recently was considered an unjustifiable and offensive arbitrariness, now it is simply an option ; from a point of view even. He calls it post- rule culture or post- regulated world. As is, just as it is.
James Franco, on the third consecutive day that San Sebastián dedicates to a Franco (dead or alive), is even more radical. He prefers to offer his own meat in sacrifice to, from the closest thing to an aesthetic suicide, propose a final way of measuring: what if the relevant were not the sublime or the excellent but the despicable? And here, Zeroville , which is nothing more than a journey through the interior of the last revolution of cinema, that of the 70s, from the most elementary pathos. Or, otherwise: a pathetic film. Without irony.
The 'Francoist' proposal (also this one) adapts Steve Erickson's homonymous novel and tells the story of a filmmaker in Hollywood from 1969 onwards. That is, from, again, the famous massacre perpetrated by Charles Manson and his people.
Go ahead that the tape was shot in 2014, long before Tarantino completed Once upon a time ... in Hollywood . Various problems, including the hallucinatory character (let's say so) of the film, have made Franco himself have had time since Zeroville finished completing five more jobs as a director and more than a dozen as an actor, to win a Shell of I pray for The disaster artist and, already put, to be placed on the target of #MeToo as a stalker. Who said tranquility.
And one last fact: the film, which was announced in the competition, was discarded from it as soon as the festival started because it was released in Russia and Lithuania days before. In revenge perhaps, James Franco has not poked the nose by the Shell . Or yes it has, but by interposed film.
Let's say that all of the above, far from being just a series of catastrophic misfortunes, more or less accidental, more or less curious, is actually part of the ideology and essence of a film that aspires all to failure. Franco himself gives life to a protagonist fascinated by cinema in general and a place in the sun , by George Stevens, in a very particular way. A tattoo of its protagonists, Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, adorns his shaved head. When you learn the trade of assembly, the first thing you will assimilate is, according to Schrader's ideology, how to break the rules to the shout of "Fuck continuity."
All Zeroville is built on an endless series of tributes to what time has given in calling masterpieces. And here they are worth from classics such as The Passion of Joan of Arc , Dreyer, The Passion of the Strong , Ford, through The Twilight of the Gods , Wilder. But also so demolishingly atonal and also classic (or post-classical) pieces like Jodorowsky's Sacred Mountain , Lynch's Head Eraser , and, why not, Coppola's Apocalypse now . One last mention for Easy Rider , by Dennis Hopper, closes all about credit titles.
The film is articulated about the protagonist's obsession with an actress incarnated by Megan Fox that functions as the hidden spectrum of Blow up's impossible photography. She is the ghost on the other side of the mirror, she is the soul of the same cinema, she is always there. In all the images produced by Hollywood. Just stop the moviola at the exact site. On this more or less romantic and voracious premise, Franco raises a monument to the imposture . Or if you prefer, and for playing with homophonies, what stands before the viewer's gaze is a kind of quirky Valley of the Fallen to the greatest glory of all the dead of a time already, and again, without rules. Unfortunate no doubt.
Among a cast in which almost no one is missing (there are Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, Jackie Weaver or Gus Van Sant), there is a work that wants to be delectable; which does not admit another description that simply ridiculous. A hez. But there, precisely, the turn, the provocation and the dismissal. As if it were the face B of The disaster artist (the chronicle of the worst film in the history of cinema), the relevant now are issues such as arbitrariness, childish, stupid ... Indeed, and to return to Schrader, a masterpiece with no rules other than his own incompetence. Brilliant for repulsive. Franco, that man.
And after the procedure, or 'post-processing', the official section followed its course with one of those tapes also designed for concern. The Polish Malgorzata Szumowska presented The other lamb as what could well be considered an abstract epilogue to the last season of The Maid's Tale . Within a strange sect known as The Flock , a girl comes into the world to see how free it is that the one she sends is a priest. Of course, a violent and bearded man.
The director avoids any complications and decides on metaphors so terrifyingly obvious that, in effect, they scare. And they do it both for simplicity (this is bad) and for distressing beauty (this is very good). The other lamb lives suspended in a desperately dreamlike landscape. And he does it with a rigor and clarity subjugating. The problem, and not a small one, is the stubbornness in the underlines, in the messages already very close to the propaganda. Be that as it may, it impacts and, at times, captivates. It is not clear, yes, if so much exhibitionist virtuosity does not ballast a necessary political message suddenly turned into a simple excuse for the show. And so.
Finally, A dark-dark man . The Kazakh director and a couple of times selected in Cannes Adilkhan Yerzhanov appeared on tiptoe to present the best film in the official section of the day. Sounds like a lie of bitter addicted to darkness and no. It is the most clear of the truths ever heard in Kazakhstan. What the director proposes is a slow or, better, slow thriller . Let's say the movie shares with the deaf violence that portrays the taste for stupor , amazement and cold.
A detective investigates the death of a child. What follows is an unbroken succession of barbarism , but all of it tinged with a strange ferocity so close to usual that part of the landscape would be said. By returning to the beginning, Yerzhanov converts the rules (not the 'post-rules') of noir into a rare neorealism as suggestive and feverish as merciless. And slow, very slow. Brilliant and as close to the sublime as Zeroville is to the deleznable. It's like this ... "Fuck continuity."
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