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HomeLatest NewsQuentin Dupieux presented the apocalyptic comedy "The Second Act" - Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Quentin Dupieux presented the apocalyptic comedy “The Second Act” – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Date: July 18, 2024 Time: 11:16:21

Last fall, at the Venice Film Festival, Dupieux presented “Yessss!” – a surreal chaos based on the themes of the great prankster Salvador Dali. And this spring, the Cannes Film Festival opened with his “Second Act”, a film within a film, where every frame is a stage, and reality and its reflections strive to change places at every moment. This picture will surprise our viewers: it appeared on the screens of the country.

The deceptions will begin already in the credits, following a velvety flow of symphonic jazz violins; such a flow in the cinema of the time of the developed Woody Allen promised a great romance. Some fat man will stop the spill halfway: huffing, he drives the car through a confusing space, huffing, he opens a door, turns on the light and we find ourselves in the hall of a roadside restaurant, where the four heroes of this incomprehensible story will meet later. This episodic fat man is the strange character of the film, but he has perhaps the most important semantic function (in this role the actor Manuel Guillot plays a cameo).

…And for some reason young David and Willie go somewhere. And they argue fiercely. One is trying to sell the girl Florence, who is in love with him, to the other – they say: sleep with her, be nice, direct the arrows at your beautiful self. Willie does not understand: is she ugly, disabled? – No, she is a beauty, an athlete, and all the traditional values ​​​​with her. “So why are you trying to sell it to me?” The conversation is extremely politically incorrect and David seriously fears that after such now forbidden dialogues, both will lose their contract. And he meaningfully looks into the camera that is not visible to us, but is present here.

But the same girl Florence is in a hurry to meet her beloved. With dad Guillaume at the wheel. Dad is dissatisfied with something, throws away the steering wheel and declares that he can no longer… play this rubbish. The story has a second dimension: it turns out that these are not the characters of the story that has begun, they are actors who star in some mediocre film. As the film progresses, they will constantly stop being characters and do what is usual in the acting fraternity – fights, intrigues, jealousy and mockery. Moreover, the eldest of them has just received a call from Hollywood from Paul Thomas Anderson himself and was offered a role – a fact that his kind colleagues find difficult to survive. There are practically no boundaries between the real and the playable, one easily flows into the other, and the film will lead us by the nose to the very end.

If we add to this the fact that the quartet of heroes of the “film within a film” is played by Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard, then in the mind of the erudite viewer the roles of the stars will be completely confused, even merged with these real-life figures. And who incites whom (either the stars themselves or their characters in their roles) will remain unclear and, most importantly, unimportant. We are witnessing an authorial exercise, a cavalry of improvisation on topical issues: political correctness that reaches our throats, the impoverishment of creative ideas, the favorite clichés of auteur cinema (including the velvety spill of violins, which take any trick to heaven), the outdated complexes of French actors who dream of Hollywood, leaving the movie theaters of spectators. And our whole world is enraged, sinking like the Titanic, while the comedians, by inertia, execute their deadly gallop on the deck, as if nothing special were happening.

The final blow to our conscience will come with the news that the screenwriter and director of the film starring the heroes of the film is the author of all this unbearable nonsense: AI, artificial intelligence, is represented by an inexorable avatar on a tablet. Before us, so to speak, is the imminent future of world cinema. This is given a special touch by the presence among the producers of “Second Act” of the streaming giant Netflix, known for its films made with the help of algorithms.

The critic of “Second Act” need not worry about spoilers. The chaos that unfolds on the screen is perfectly intertwined with the chaos that reigns around us in reality, and any viewer with imagination can easily join in this improvisation on the themes of hell that winks at us. Where absolutely everything ceased to have any meaning and value. Where the tragedy of despair skillfully depicted in front of a film camera will inevitably continue and be realized in life. Sensitively responding to the demands of today’s confused audience, born DJ Dupieux makes a comedy of the apocalypse, dressed in the colorful clothes of an endless and very talkative surrealist. Only Dupieux is able to see and control his cinematic universe in three dimensions, which is why he is here as a screenwriter, director, cameraman and editor. As always with Quentin Dupieux, I dare not guess what to expect from him in the next film.

Yes, but where is the “Second Act” of this drama that the title promises? Don’t expect a satisfying ending: it’s just the name of a roadside restaurant. In real life, there may very well be no second act.

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Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.

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