Just like that family sitting peacefully having their breakfast with the French Alps in the background when suddenly an avalanche shakes their world and changes it forever, that’s how Ruben Östlund shook me with his Force Majeure (2014). From that moment it has been an obligatory task to follow in the footsteps of the Swede. Triangle of Sadness is his sixth feature film. With the sharpness that characterizes him, he delivers an irreverent comedy that takes advantage of every minute to compose a social critique.
Cinematographic genres and subgenres are born from the primitive need that pushes us to sort and classify. In the case of Barbarian by director Zach Cregger, we are going to put it on the horror movie shelf. This tyrannical exercise may alienate certain audiences that do not like to travel through these avenues. This is the case with many other movies when we have, by obligation or necessity, to subscribe to some genre. But the genre is just a vehicle that filmmakers use to develop their ideas and convey their discourses.
“In order to defend their lives in freedom, the aloitadores immobilize the beast’s hand to hand to shave and brand them.”
When the lens opens to take us out of the blackness of the titles, a wild and poetic sequence introduces us to the world of The Beasts (2022). Man against the beast in an ancient dance fueled by pure testosterone. Force prevails over reason; dominance is established, and territory is marked as conquered. Director Rodrigo Sorogoyen (May God Save Us, The Candidate) uses metaphor to introduce his subject. In slow motion we see that wild horse being tamed and the lens closing on its muzzle, which beats exhausted, as an inevitable foreshadowing of what is to come.
Todd Field has a special talent for capturing the human soul. Tár (2022) comes sixteen years after his previous work Little Children (2006) and twenty-one years after his feature directorial debut, In the Bedroom (2001). The common factor in his work is the sharpness with which he displays in images the deepest feelings of the human being. His cinematographic rhythm settles in the vortex of emotions that are born in each of his characters. His work beats to the rhythm of its central characters and generally in that role we have women who are pressured by external elements. This was the case with the characters of Sissy Spacek and Kate Winslet in his previous films and he reaffirms it now with Cate Blanchett.
The screen could never contain her, nor could those 2 hours and 47 minutes of Blonde (2022). Marilyn is larger than life itself, not even death has been able to spoil her figure. Scandals, food to feed morbidly hungry stomachs and the perfect fertilizer to make the figure even more enigmatic. Andrew Dominik knew that he was going to enter a rough terrain, that he was going to be put under the magnifying glass for the mere fact of approaching one of the figures who helped create the Hollywood industry. The seasoned director decided to undertake the task from the part that he is best at, the visual discourse. To put together his story, he relies on the homonymous novel by the American Joyce Carol Oates. At over 700 pages, the book, published in 2000, became a bestseller and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.