Sitges 2022: Nanny Oppressed by Immigration, Quentin Dupieux’s Critical Wit, Feminism Against Harassment, Impressionist Emily Brontë, Eduardo Casanova’s Provocative Display and Mia Goth Dazzles in “Pearl” | The Cinema of LoQueYoTeDiga

Dear Theo:

A nanny oppressed by the weight of immigration, the ingenuity of Quentin Dupieux, feminism in the face of harassment, an impressionistic look at Emily Brontë, a provocative display of Eduardo Casanova and Mia Goth dazzling in “Pearl”.

“Nanny”

After winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, in other words, the jackpot, I put my sovereign attention on this film, which is the directorial debut of Nikyatu Jusu, a more than remarkable debut in which he narrates the journey terrifying of a young Afro-descendant immigrant from Senegal, who tries to survive in the USA as best she can, babysitting a rich white family.

From the first moment, the oppressive atmosphere that the director creates is the fundamental thing that sustains the story, an atmosphere that serves to dislodge the protagonist, making her feel that she is never in her own home. What the protagonist wants is to earn enough money to bring her child to her house from her native country, and that is all that moves her, but she also obsesses and terrifies.

An adaptation in North American society that at times feels impossible, not only because of cultural shock or class exploitation and inherent racism, but also because of the fact that we are waiting for an expectation that may never be fulfilled, the “American” dream. for some, survival for others that is sometimes imagined as a utopia itself.

A fantastic Anna Diop who throws the film on top of her and creates a terrifying emotional journey even though it really seems mundane, all from a tone that makes clear a latent pessimism, but that finally leaves an air of hope.

Reconstruction is possible.

Survival is possible.

Adaptation is possible.

Life is possible.

“Incredible but true”

The second film in competition by filmmaker Quentin Dupieux is the one that was defined as the “intelligent” one. We already talked about “Smoking causes coughing” before, a film that was looking for the continuous gag and that practically didn’t stop to reflect on anything, but that worked like a charm. “Unbelievable but true” is very far in narrative, although close in tone.

Dupieux leaves the bizarre (although not entirely) aside to embrace a highly intelligent and reflective proposal on the passage of time and the crisis of old age. A family moves to a house where going down some stairs makes you age a few hours, although many others go by.

From this “high concept”, Dupieux builds gags with which to laugh but he never looks for an easy laugh, he sometimes looks for discomfort but above all a deep reflection on the obsession that being older rotting of the body is inherently negative . This obsession will clearly be misfortune, and tries to make us think not to teach about the passage of time with us and our relationships and the inevitability of being able to stop nature itself.

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“Watchers”

blankMaika Monroe is the great attraction of this new horror proposal, because she has become one of the great female references of the modern genre in recent years. She made the leap with the already cult classic “It follows” and the more than enjoyable “The guest” and, since then, always with a more niche range, she hasn’t stopped working on more than interesting proposals.

“Watcher” is the directorial debut of Chloe Okuno, who makes it clear from the beginning that this is going to be a story that is going to have a feminine and feminist perspective, from the eyes of a woman who suffers harassment and ” gaslight” constants, and how it reacts to it.

The film is an exercise in a short and interesting style with that aforementioned narrative layer, which plays a lot with depth of field and the use of out-of-field, suggesting, listening and practically never showing the threat, which curiously is the same as used David Robert Mitchell in “It follows”.

A threat that feels constant, and that tries to resemble the real danger that women unfortunately live almost practically daily by a society self-absorbed in having control over them, a control that director Okuno refuses to allow, and ends up leaving clear the message, in the most radical and direct way possible.

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“Emily”

blankIn recent years we have seen quite a few period proposals with female protagonists who try to subvert and turn around all those stories that we have become accustomed to seeing where they were relegated to the background, or where they circulated at a narrative level constantly around of the male lead. Some of those examples could be “Little Women”, “Emma” or “Spring in Beechwood”.

In “Emily” the path is similar, taking Emma Mackey (known for her excellent leading role in “Sex education”) as the helm playing Emily Brontë, the author of the classic “Wuthering Heights”, to continually turn clichés on their head. classics of this genre, still ending up being a love story above its possibilities.

I really wanted to see Mackey starring in a film of this style, and the truth is that he more than complies, continually maintaining the tone and form with looks and gestures that are perceptible in an interior way, simple but heartfelt. A magnetic presence that, it is true that for those of us with a trained eye, we see in Mackey certain gestures and hobbies that we imagine will be minimized over time, since she is still a very young actress and can give a lot to talk about. in the future.

Also noteworthy (a lot) is the soundtrack by Abel Korzeniowski, composer of pieces such as “Nocturnal Animals” and that this year we will also see in one of the great bets of the Oscars as “Till”, and that here he once again shows us a complexity beautiful in what is already one of the great compositions of the year.

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“piety”

blankEduardo Casanova debuted in 2017 with the unclassifiable “Pieles”, in an exercise that, despite having a more than clear message, did not stop having the feeling that we were facing an exercise in style. Now he is back with “La piedad”, after having won the first prize at the Fantastic Fest and, without a doubt, it is one of the great films of this Festival, generating a consensus that has made it the third most voted film by the public and that, together with “Irati”, has been the other great ovation in the pass of the same.

The film continues to maintain that characteristic form of Casanova’s author, which some dare to compare with Wes Anderson for those marked pastel colors and that constant search for the perfect and balanced shot. Beyond that peculiar way, Casanova at a formal level deploys a number of resources that take your breath away, from “snorricams” to tracking shots and impossible crane shots, Casanova really shows that his knowledge is extensive and that he knows how to use it in the most balanced way. between narration and technical deployment.

The thing is, when you look at the movie on a narrative level, it’s a total movie. An obsessed and overprotective mother with her son, which Casanova decides to narrate without shame. The toxicity of this overprotection reaches surprising levels even for those of us who already have a history with this type of proposal, using the North Korean dictatorship (as it is read) to compare it with what motherhood can sometimes mean. A prison with no way out, a weight that one cannot get rid of.

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All in the most lurid, surreal and nightmarish way possible, and supported by an interpretation by Ángela Molina that is really impressive, on all levels. It is without a doubt one of the great interpretations of Spanish cinema of all time, since it has total control over the mise-en-scène, and knows how to handle any sequence at will, and its co-star and son in fiction, more than surprising Manel Llunell, who is diagnosed with cancer and his mother takes it as if she herself had the disease.

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A truly surprising display in which, as is not usual, the grotesque and provocative serve as truly functional narrative vehicles that take the film to another level, surprising emotional levels that make it not only one of the films of the Festival if not in one of the year.

This year’s harvest in Spanish cinema is truly from another world, a year that will go down in history.

“pearl”

blankDirector Ti West said that, in the two weeks that he was locked up due to illness in the pandemic while they were shooting “X”, he spoke with Mia Goth, its protagonist, to shoot a prequel to the film. A24, the producer and distributor, told him to shoot the film at first and that they would watch it. In those two weeks the script for “Pearl” was written and it will end up being the second part of a trilogy that will culminate with “MaXXXine”, an unusual, peculiar situation that had practically never happened with the independent production company.

Even though it was done in a hurry, “Pearl” is a really interesting, effective, fun character study. It has a very black and self-referential humor to “X” herself, who was applauded in Sitges as if they were Marvel cameos, and who manages to go beyond the exploitation of psychopathy and the character’s obsession with success (and fleeing). by MiaGoth.

It is a film that is really well shot, with many ideas at the level of staging and that take advantage of the use of the time of the end of the 2010s to continually play with aesthetics, but really what makes “Pearl” go beyond is, without a doubt, Mia Goth.

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In one of the performances of the year, Goth stands out as one of the genre’s benchmarks, showing off without comparison in breath-taking sequences, like that very long monologue in the same shot in which he shows all kinds of range: his rage, his impotence, his anger, his madness. One of the sequences that is remembered many years later, and that joins this Olympus of excellent female performances in modern horror such as Toni Colette in “Hereditary”, Lupita Nyong’o in “Us”, Florence Pugh in “Midsommar ” or Elisabeth Moss in “The Invisible Man.”

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Iker Gonzalez Urresti

Sitges 2022: Nanny Oppressed by Immigration, Quentin Dupieux’s Critical Wit, Feminism Against Harassment, Impressionist Emily Brontë, Eduardo Casanova’s Provocative Display and Mia Goth Dazzles in “Pearl” | The Cinema of LoQueYoTeDiga