ENJOY THE MOVIES
It was a bold move for director Darren Aronofsky to return to Venice after the cold reception to Mother! at the festival in 2017. Festival crowds can be brutal especially when you are trying to play games with them. Although Mother! is an ingenious, gracefully structured take down on obsessively religious patriarchy, it was widely misunderstood. The Whale brings Aronofsky justice and turns him in the eyes of viewers from angry cynic to a humanist. It seems like there is a lot of caution towards the project after the Mother! controversy but the good news is that The Whale finds Aronofsky at his best with a more reserved directing style which still delivers a profound emotional impact elevated by the spectacular performance by Fraser.
Every generation deserves its own fresh new take on the romantic comedy. The problem is that nowadays this genre has become marginalized and neglected for romanticizing abusive relationships and encouraging destructive behavioral patterns. So young directors have decided to disguise their new romcoms as movies about searching for oneself and making sense of oneself before they can feel comfortable in a relationship. Spanish filmmaker Andrea Bagney's feature debut Ramona, which premiered at the 2022 Karlovy Vary Film Festival, is no exception to this rule. The film explores this intricate struggle to understand what's next in the life of a young woman. It's filmed in old fashioned black & white inspired by classic French cinema.
There is no greater feeling when you go to see a movie for the first time without any expectations, and it blows you away or even changes your life entirely. And there is nothing worse when a movie that you have been anticipating for a long time turns out to be a huge disappointment. Crushed hopes are a bitter pill to swallow. In that regard, writer / director Robert Eggers with his gloomy and hypnotizing film The Witch, and goofy yet profound The Lighthouse, was a safe harbor for cinephiles who were always in a search for something original. Even after sleeping for only four hours and standing in a line for three more hours just to see The Lighthouse in Cannes in 2019, I knew that it was worth it (and it was). I hate to say the director's new endeavor The Northman falls victim to the same virtues that gained him acclaim in the first place.