We have started a new section called ‘Minimalist Reviews’, where we write brief review of random films. In this post, I have reviewed American Graffiti,The Sweet Hereafter, and La Sapienza.
American Graffiti (1973) | Dir. George Lucas | Coming-of-age comedy-drama
American Graffiti breaths an inspiring original screenplay in which adolescent humor,romantic nostalgia, and pensive mood is perfectly blended with teenage mores & attitude while they come of their age. George Lucas hinges his American teenage tale by incorporating classical impressionistic soundtrack; pseudo-freedom & status symbol,Cars ; make and break of friendship & relationship in the wake of friends segregating for higher education. The music organically fuses in the film and provides the emotional spine whose structure of the script tonally shifts from one character to another. As the lyrics ‘We’ve been having fun all summer long’ by The Beach Boys fades over the film’s final credits, it is difficult to shake off the sad feeling that now that summer is over the fun is over too. It won’t ever be the same again and now the characters have little to look forward to other than mediocrity or worse.
American Graffiti will go down as one of my all time favorite come of age films. George Lucas has constructed a plot around post–World War II baby boom generation over the single evening of last day of Summer vacation where the revelations that the characters experience have a profound impact on how they view themselves and their place in the world. Characters are peculiar but not that interesting , they feel normal and real, hence you easily connect with them. But in its entirety, they make an interesting composition that is far more convivial than any other coming of age films.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997) |Dir. Atom Egoyan | Drama film/Disaster Film
“The Sweet Hereafter” is one of the most emotionally devastating & complex dramas that never gives any simple answers. It asks its audience to vicariously get into the psyche of characters and analyse them, which is painful, and then conclude the reasoning for their state. The screenplay in itself plays like a puzzle which makes it quite difficult to keep up with any character. What makes even more difficult that audience need to keep shifting their already built empathy from one character to another character.
The Sweet Hereafter is not about what led to the tragic accident that killed 14 children, also not about a lawyer who will bring justice through the crack of legal system, nor does the film give any conclusive answers. In stead it revolves around characters who carry different burden and secrets. Like you might think that Lawyer, Mitchell (Ian Holm) is in the city to make some heavy cash, but one look into his eyes, and it clears your doubt that money is not the motive here. We have one the most complex characters that of Nicole (Sarah Powell) who is one of the survivors of the accident. It is the genius work of Egoyan to chip in “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” as controlling metaphor that speaks a lot about Nicole’s state of mind. Her emotional conflict is exactly like the only crippled child left in the town who dint follow the Piper’s song. And then there is Billy who doesnt want to have any legal trouble in the village. He doesn’t want to disrupt what ever left harmony in the town. But is really that the reason ? The Sweet Hereafter will leave you with many unanswered questions, whose answers will never be rational, it will significantly change with every individual on where they want to incline their empathy and how far they are ready to get emotionally drained.
La Sapienza (2015) | Dir. Eugène Green | Drama
Eugène Green’s film ‘La Sapienza’ feels like Sorrentino’s work which has lost touch of music n ‘shimmering’ beauty but very much profound in its philosophy, and strangely too beautiful to resist. The film perfectly blends the understated story telling with cerebral literary themes and human emotions. Straight faced, expressionless scholarly discussion about the architectural idols and architect leads to unearthing of concealed emotions that leads to self discovery of middle aged architect Alexandre (Fabrizio Rongione). Though it starts off quite slowly and may put you to sleep with its mundane story telling method where characters stare into camera, but by the end , it is a rewarding experience if you immerse yourself in the symmetrical beauty of the film.