A return as champions

Publish date 23-02-2024

by Davide Bracco

Happy cinematic 2024 (and not only obviously). Also thanks to the beautiful film by Paola Cortellesi, the frequency of spectators in theaters now seems to have settled at pre-pandemic levels and the season encourages this trend by offering us a good number of very interesting titles.

The Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos never leaves anyone indifferent in very personal works (The Sacrifice of the Sacred Deer, The Favourite) which mix contemporary concerns with extreme narratives. This latest film of his – presented in Venice – is also no exception: a mad scientist has in fact found the body of a lifeless woman and, discovering her pregnant, transplanted the brain of the fetus into her skull as an adult woman. How do totally pure and inexperienced eyes contained in a shell that has already lived and had experiences see the world? A revisitation of the myth of Frankenstein for a story of female liberation (thanks to the splendid interpretation of Emma Stone) that has never been so relevant.

In competition at the Cannes Film Festival, the film by English director Jonathan Glazer greatly impressed with the originality with which it deals with the theme of the Holocaust and which puts the viewer to the test. A rural and placid life seems to take place in a small country house where a family spends their days between boat trips, taking care of the garden and simple socializing. But this corner of normality borders the Auschwitz concentration camp and the head of the family is the commandant. A film that forces our attention with visual dissonances (in the background of the house we can glimpse the chimneys of the camp and the puffs of the trains) and sound where screams and gunshots do not disturb the "banality of evil" of life on the outside.

After also triumphing at the Turin Film Festival, one of the best films of 2023 according to all polls arrives in theaters. 1970: in a New England college the severe professor Hunham must remain in the company of the school cook to "nurse" the students unable to return to their families for the holidays. The freezing climate (not only due to the snow outside) heats up due to the arguments and resentments between students and professor and then recomposes thanks to the comparison and recomposition of contrasts. An exciting film directed by Alexander Payne and featuring excellent acting, very well written dialogue and destined to become a small classic.

Davide Bracco
NP January 2024

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