The Finnish director refines to perfection his personal and desolate look in ‘Feuilles Mortes’ at a world that is falling apart
The basic laws of the development of art say that, after a period of order, proportion and classicism, the outbreak inevitably comes with all the crises. Suppose that artistic expression is entropic by definition, it inevitably leads to disorder, riot, baroque style, excess, victory by accumulation, Laocoon ate and his children … But in everything there is an exception and , in the case of autistic cinema, some writers like the Finnish Aki Kaurismäki to teach us the opposite path: that of Neganthropia. The idea is not so much to emphasize the constitutive and unimaginative “less is more” as to the more radical “nothing is more.”
The Finn’s latest film ‘Feuilles Morts’ (Dead Leaves) presented at Cannes is not only the best example of all of the above, but the only criterion. Once again, the director of ‘Shadows in Paradise’ (1986) or ‘The Girl from the Match Factory’ (1990) insists on a pattern- and drama-free description of the suffering, alcoholism and poverty of all those who live in poverty. Due to neoliberal euphemisms, they are still the working class. Kaurismaki’s characters walk across the screen with their souls attached to a leash as if they were a docile, affectionate and helpless dog. But they do it without pretentiousness, without being swayed by circumstances, so aware of their pain that it even moves them. This is not resignation, this is a resigned wisdom. Color matters.
This time the story of two solitary characters is told (all of Kaurismaki’s solitary characters perform extensively together). She avoids precarious work to even more embarrassing work. The one who drinks a lot, remains in the same condition that he will be called the same. And so until one day they meet, they go to see a zombie movie (a Jarmusch one made to be precise) and they horribly imagine the possibility of continuing on, but with a dog and together. And that (sharing the dog and things) changes everything.
The director reduces each movement almost to paralysis, each sentence barely a word, each caress in a simple form. The result is a masterpiece in its utter emptiness; A dizzying film in its stillness; funny even sad; The beautiful of the pure dirty. Buster Keaton would be very proud of Kaurismaki. Or at least nearly as much as Kaurismaki claims from his friendship with the Doe-Eyed Man. ‘Feuilles Morts’ is the shortest film and runs the longest. As contradictory as it sounds. Pure Finnish negativity.
Jessica Hausner with the ‘Club Zero’ team. Mohammed Badr
solidarity with hunger
At his side, and as if it were the practice of an excellent disciple of Mr. Aki, the Austrian Jessica Hausner emphasizes his perfect, stable, comic and crazy universes. everything at once. So utterly utopian that they seem like the most complete nightmare. If in ‘Little Joe’, her previous work, she was as consistent as she was cool, as familiar as she was cynical, this one, ‘Club Zero’, takes place in the exact same zone of chill, but a few steps down.
The premise of the previous film, of which this new sister is based, was closer to science fiction and imagined a flower capable of creating happiness with its perfume. With all the damage and misery caused by such a brilliant idea. On the other hand, it becomes stronger in social commentary. The story is told about a teacher at the school of the rich, who, as a pure protector of the environment, inspires in his students to sacrifice absolutely everything. Solidarity with hunger. Hunger as impotence.
Guess the agenda, as they say, hides everything in the end. The director of pieces as spectacular and confusing (in the best sense) as ‘Lourdes’ or ‘Amour Fou’ now turns away from one of those events that justifies a pleasant after-dinner treat but It can hardly dominate the entire film. He likes both the exotic harshness of the staging and the bloody, harrowing performances (the superb Mia Wasikowska), but deplores the forced pathos, the underwritten messages, and the lack of story development that sinks away from the edge. Therefore.
Note: We haven’t said anything about the dog in the Kaurismaki movie and it’s not fair. Few actors are as loyal to the director’s ideas as they are to him.
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