If man is endowed with judgment and creative force, it is to multiply what has been given, and yet, until now, far from creating anything, what you are doing is destroying…
(Uncle Vania, Anton Chéjov)
It is from the loss that the characters of Drive My Car (2021) build their lives. Director Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Happy Hour, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy) crafts a subtle yet sharp drama that uncovers layers in each of its characters to engage the audience with all of their senses. There is much that Hamaguchi wants to tell us, and his characters have plenty of depth, but there is no rush. The slow and energetic rhythm takes us through those three hours of footage without us noticing the passing of the seconds.
The camera is to cinema what the brush is to the canvas. It is from the lens that the story is written, the narrative pulse is dictated by the shots, the sequences, and the way they end up fitting into the final montage. All the elements of cinematographic language must be perfectly aligned so that the director’s voice can reach the audience. In Òran na h-Eala (2022), director Steve Exeter takes advantage of every tool that cinema provides to conceive a film that is both a tribute to the seventh art and a way to re-imagine a classic.
Fear is a tool. When that light hits the sky, it’s not just a call. It’s a warning.
He protects himself in a diary, the pen is the escape valve, and the paper is a witness to his shortcomings, weaknesses, and insecurities. Before seeing that Bruce Wayne guarding the streets of Gotham City in the bat suit, we have already seen the darkness that springs from his interior and that those shadows that serve as his ally are a natural place for his being. Matt Reeves imagines in The Batman (2022) a hero who is born from emotional torments and who acts on a wild instinct. The decadence that covers his city is the fertile ground for the Batman to find his purpose, even if it takes too long to understand how to fit in to achieve real change.
Reality was revealed, and I collapsed. It’s like a dream. Anything can happen. Anything.
Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
When the camera is turned on and the lens absorbs what lands in front of it, it is impossible to separate fact from fiction. What we accept as reality is inevitably tinted by the glass of our preconceptions and prejudices. Bergman’s allusion in As in a Mirror (1961) goes down the same path and deepens how we understand reality by seeing our own lives reflected in the world around us. The new film by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada (Miriam Miente, El Sitio de los Sitios) or should I say Oriol Estrada and Natalia Cabral? A Movie About Couples (2021) plays with narrative tones and satires the eagerness of filmmakers and viewers for pigeonholing cinematographic works.
Lads do football… or boxing… or wrestling. Not friggin’ ballet.
Billy Elliot (2000)
Santo Domingo does not move, it dances. It’s a curse not to have the hip looseness or the rhythm to devour any melody that gets in the way. Worse still is being born with two left feet, a group in which I include myself, and for which I imagine there is a special place in purgatory. Before Santo Domingo Waltz (2021) shows the lines of the speech, it has already tanned us with music and folklore. It sets the stage perfectly; the frame of reference is powerful and sustains the narrative from start to finish.