The chimera, review of the film by Alice Rohrwacher – Cannes 76
Fourth movie and fourth Cannes Film Festival For Alice Rohrwacherthat after Celestial body (at the Quinzaine des réalisateurs at the time), The wonders And Happy Lazarus back in competition for the Palme d’Or with The chimera. The movie will be distributed by 01 Distribution by the end of the year, the last of the three Italian films presented on the Croisette and remotely from both The sun of the future Of Nanni Moretti both from Kidnapped Of Mark Bellocchio. However, an important preview for an artist who always deserves attention, although it will be difficult for her to repeat the results of 2014 and 2018, when she won the Grand Jury Prize and the one for Best Screenplay of the French festival respectively. Who in the meantime applauded the story of grave robbers in which the protagonist Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) are side by side Isabella Rossellini And Alba Rohrwacher.
Arthur and the underworld
Arthur is the young English archaeologist just released from prison and intent on cutting ties with his (former) grave robber friends, very active on the clandestine market for works of art and archaeological finds that they steal from Etruscan tombs between Tuscia and the lower Tuscany. But ‘English’ is an essential element for the gang, who without his ability to be able to perceive the presence of graves would not know where to dig. A gift, which perhaps Arthur would gladly do without, given that the emptiness he feels in the earth corresponds to the one that left him with the memory of his lost love, Beniamina. The most painful chimera of him, the one that he seems to keep chasing on this journey between the living and the dead, between woods and solitudes.
Everyone pursues his chimera
Everyone chases his chimera, too Alice Rohrwacher, who chooses an international cast to further enrich the mosaic of characters, times, places, levels, lives and colors of his new film. A real “kaleidoscope” in which fragmentation is complexity, possibility, freedom, despite some problems in managing the harmonization and balance between the individual pieces. Many and distributed between the world above and the world below, the present and the past, one reality and another or the different elements that make up the research of the director and screenwriter, as well as author of the story together with Peter Marcellus And Carmela Covino.
The first impact with the film is through “the Englishman”, Josh O’Connor’s bewildered and lonely Arthur who accompanies us and whom we follow from beginning to end. More Charon than Virgil, deliberately linking the different worlds that history holds together, voluntarily on the margins of both, where her search for his missing love has been disappointed. That, sentimental, the chimera of the title, but not only. Those that allow him to establish contact with the underworld, Etruscan in particular, are also “chimeras”, a source of livelihood for the grave robbers, for him, a space of freedom and hope.
The themes and suggestions are remarkable, but often to be pursued in the long mourning process that the film tells in some way. In which there seem to be too many detours and parentheses, too many films within a film, narrative lines (the one of the storyteller who appears several times is brilliant and happy) that intertwine with the main one. Effectively as happens in life, of all of us, which stops, resumes, changes direction, and often stops to follow other suggestions, possibilities or urgencies.
Even the style is that of the director, who returns to using the much loved shades and to look towards the underprivileged, the innocent in spite of themselves, nature and its creatures. An ideal community in which boundaries, both spatial and temporal, and the rules of man and of a society that has no respect for anything or anyone, lose their meaning. In which it is not trivial for women to offer and seek an alternative, and to show – as Rohrwalcher herself said – a different attitude in the construction of things, which gives them a new life. A woman opens and closes the film, moreover, a woman is entrusted with the plot twist, different women characterize Arthur’s existential journey, from Carol Duarte’s Italy to Isabella Rossellini’s Flora, in a role of little presence but of undoubted weight.
Parallel plans, which overlap and develop, ending up tangent, even with little hope of obtaining benefits. Above all for the crowding of stories, levels, characters and endings, which don’t help to make the film less involved. Closed by bucolic images, the most classic of Franco Battiato and a conciliatory triumph between the dreamer and the visionary.