Thanksgiving week previews releases that normally take place two days later and also serves as the debut for some films with real chances in the ever-closer Oscar competition, as evidenced by this week’s billboard. .
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Gabriel LaBelle, Michelle Williams, Paul Dano
In recent weeks, the acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu has been promoting “Bardo”, a film closely related to his own life, in the same way that the equally acclaimed Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón did four years ago with “Roma”. . And now, an even more acclaimed director -but American- surprises with a film of enormous level (and a strong candidate to win the Oscar for Best Picture) that takes the same path.
We are talking about “The Fabelmans”, which had a limited release on November 11, which is now widely available in theaters across the country, and which, despite changing the names of the people it is inspired by – as the Aztec ‘compadres’ did-, evidently portrays a fundamental period in the human and professional formation of its author, corresponding to his childhood and, above all, his adolescence.
Beyond what corresponds to his extraordinary artistic abilities, Steven Spielberg has frequently flirted with the ‘mainstream’ and, in this sense, the first scenes of the film seem to take us down a placid and even concessive path by showing the experiences of a family fairly well-to-do American where everything seems to be going well; but the teacher is intelligent enough to realize that a story that always stays in those channels would not be true to reality, so little by little, he introduces dramatic elements that not only make everything much more credible, but rather respond to a large extent to his own memories, although without ever neglecting the use of a classical staging that somehow distances the viewer from what is being presented.
Furthermore, that same visual language is directly responsible for the existence of what is by now one of the most memorable scenes in the history of cinema; We will not fall into ‘spoilers’, but it involves a particularly painful discovery for the protagonist while simultaneously testing the power of the image, as part of a film that is immensely enjoyed despite its 151-minute duration and that, without neglecting some transcendent themes -such as anti-Semitism and the difficulties faced by any young person whose family is constantly moving-, will especially excite lovers of this discipline for what it says and shows about the seventh art from the perspective of such a renowned filmmaker like this.
Nor should we underestimate what happens in terms of performances, headed by a superb Michelle Williams who puts herself in the shoes of Samuel’s tormented mother (Spielberg’s alter ego) and followed by the practically unknown Gabriel LaBelle, who, In addition to looking a lot like Spielberg, he takes on the starring role with an integrity worthy of commitment. Even the more minor characters get brilliant interventions, as happens with Judd Hirsch’s Uncle Boris and David Lynch’s John Ford, who only appear for a few minutes on screen and still receive enthusiastic applause.
BONES AND ALL
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance
Genre: Horror / Romance
Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, who began presenting his feature films more than two decades ago, only rose to international fame five years ago with “Call Me by Your Name,” the Oscar-winning LGBTQ-themed romantic drama that made him equally popular. its protagonist Timothée Chalamet, who would later become the star of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune”.
But Guadagnino is no stranger to the horror genre or extreme ‘gore’, as he demonstrated when he commanded the effective and relentless ‘remake’ of “Suspiria” that was released in 2018; and it is this interest in different film schools that leads him to obtain outstanding results in “Bones and All”, an adaptation of a celebrated American novel that, in addition to reuniting him with Chalamet, allows him to highlight both the talent of Taylor Russell -a young actress Canadian who, without having achieved celebrity status yet, deeply impressed critics with his work on the independent drama “Waves” – such as casting the great Mark Rylance – just winner of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies”-.
At the Venice Film Festival, in addition to taking the Silver Lion for Best Director, “Bones and All” received a standing ovation that lasted for 10 minutes, and there are those who believe that it could (and even should) end. in the shortlist of nominees for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. I agree with this, although the truth -and this is also a warning for sensitive viewers- is that, in the midst of its notable artistic aspects, the film is full of brutal and disturbing moments that honor the activities carried out by its protagonists, two desperate young men with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.
In this sense, we are facing a production whose intensity will shock more than one voter, but which, on the other hand, also works as a love story developed against all odds, a ‘road movie’ that follows its characters through a long and generous tour of the United States and a creative homage to the classic “Bonnie and Clyde”, accompanied by a staging of enormous visual flight and a captivating soundtrack in which Trent Reznor has much to do. For me, the combination is irresistible; but I am completely sure that not everyone will think the same.
Director: Nikyatu Jusu
Cast: Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, Sinqua Walls
Genre: Horror / Drama
When reading the name of this film and knowing that it is related to the horror genre, it is easy to believe that it is an inconsequential title that merely mimics the line established by productions such as “Halloween”, “When a Stranger Calls ”, “Emelie” and, of course, “The Babysitter”.
However, “Nanny”, which has a limited release this Wednesday and is released on Prime Video on December 16, takes an original path from the very beginning, because its protagonist is Aisha, an undocumented Senegalese immigrant who, despite After being the victim of financial constraints that have forced her to leave her country and her young son to work as a nanny in New York City, she is academically prepared and has a strong personality.
In this sense, Aisha (impeccably played by Senegalese-American Anna Diop) is far from being the villain of the story or a defenseless victim of the events she faces, as is often the case in films that deal with the subject; in fact, the first part of the film works entirely as a social drama full of complex characters that respond to realistic problems, before the irruption of supernatural elements that respond to West African myths.
“Nanny”, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, is the debut of Nikyatu Jusu, a director and screenwriter born in Atlanta as a result of the union of two immigrants from Sierra Leone. She is a filmmaker who has been showing interest in the problem of black women in the American Union since she started making short films. All this makes the film completely worthy of interest and shows its authenticity, despite the fact that the ending could have been better worked.