A couple of tapes thatfrom the logic ofhorror movies, they approach old age froman allegorical perspective on the implications of thetime, becoming as a way ofpermanence, the transit of life with all the subjective burden ofcase and inheritances receivedin the always mysterious environmentfamily.
Directed and co-written by feature film debutant NatalieErika James, Relic (Australia-EUChina, 2020) is a female immersion in family conditions that remain outside ofall knowledge, ready to beabruptly discovered,in the reunions that are livedafter long periods of distance.The relic, which sacred object ordemonstrative of the time that hastour, it remains as a vestigeof a framework that throbs at itsaround, perhaps to perpetuatedistinctive rituals and still have some tangible evidenceto which to cling, keepingthe cult alive, even if it’s aroundof an entity that iscloser to the realm of death.
An old woman has disappearedwithout a trace at his remote home in Victoria, Australia. His daughter andgranddaughter rush to find out whatIt happened, only to find her fromsoon as if nothing had happened, although of course, themental deterioration is evident. Thethree begin to live together while deciding what to do with theproperty and its owner, while strange situations arise and the linksCome inthey are constantly reconfigured. Secrets begin toappear, both from the past andin the house itself, which seems to harbor some kind of cursesilent, and both stabilitypersonal as the fragile balancethey gradually crumble.
The grandmother (Robyn Nevin, versatile) goes from a loving state toa strange aggressive posture, witherratic changes that you seem not to be aware of; Mother(Emily Mortimer, inquirer),try to solve the particularsevents knowing, perhaps, something that others do not knowand the daughter (Bella Heathcote) goes frombe on the lookout to get involved in a bizarre way, in the sense of courage, in the mysteries thatsurround your grandmother, the rooms and walls and the bondshereditary flying overthe environment, increasingly rarefied and in which onlyother characters in ephemeral form, such as the neighbor with a disability (Chris Bunton, affectionate) or thedoctor (Catherine Glavicic) of theinternship.
The camera plays a roleessential for buildingatmospheres, especially bychosen perspectives, both from theframe position as ofthe subjective gaze, and the way ofshow and illuminate spaceswhere the three movewomen, called to understanda phenomenon that only they could be explained by the existing blood relationship and, perhaps, their perpetual feminine conditionof an inheritance that is maintaineddespite the horror that it might arouse at first. The moment ofrevelation invites more commiseration than rejection oranguish, as when protectinga relic worthy of worship.
The graphic novel Sandcastle (2011), written by FrenchPierre-Oscar Lévy and illustrated inemphatic black and white by Frederik Peeters, poses the arrivalfrom a group of vacationers toan open beach, unlikethe one shown in the film located in the Dominican Republic, andbegin to age at a rateaccelerated, which generates a special dynamic among the group ofpeople, with a note onracism towards an Algerian character and culminating in the babychild born there and already grown up, building a sand castle, leaving the interpretations open to the reader and preservingan atmospheric tessitura and inviting reflection on the passageof time, interpersonal ties and the very sense ofvital actions and dedicationthat we provide to them.
Old (Old, EU, 2021), the film adaptation of the novel, shares the characteristic featuresfrom some M. Night moviesShyamalan: good ideas brought to the field with some narrative fractures and inconsistenciesin the development of the sequences,as it could be observed in Signals (2002), The village (2004), The lady in the water (2006), The end oftime (2007) and Glass (2019), bymention some examples; inother cases, it is not even goodideaThe last airbender,2010; After Earth, 2013).The usual screw turns haveworked at times, likein Sixth Sense (1999), The protégé (2000), The guests (2015),Fragmented (2016) and in the veryachieved series The Servant (2019-2021), already discussed in this space.
This time, thoughhe is announcing it, the explanation of what they do is imaginativethere the characters, proposingan answer that the original text leaves free, also includingthe entire hotel complex and some characters in contrast tothe graphic source: everyone in the hotel, including the manager,his nephew and the driver (Shyamalanhimself putting on the overalls);others change personality andsome more are not included in the film:a boy, son of the doctor and a science fiction author, father of thenurse’s wife, psychologist intape. Although the way to solve the mess leaves several gapsand resorts to more or less easy exits, compared to attempts to escape from the beach, which do notare credible in the contextof the story, reducing its potentialof dimension unknown.
Faced with a photograph of brilliant contrasts and disturbing points of view that seeks to accentuate theuneasiness, developed by MikeGioulakis with his characteristic stamp (It is behind you, 2014; The Silver Lake Mystery, 2018; U.S,2019), the sequencing leaves some gaps with characters having reactions out of context, suddenly absent and appearing just because, engagingcertain dialogues that do not make much sense, sound stiff or are directed towards theviewer, given that among those involved things are said that alreadythey knew. Nor do the performances help, this time littlefortunate, despite havinga casting that has been shown better in other films, which endsto bury the interest in the characters, reaching a level, inmostly, of mere vignette
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