It may be the Trump effect or, more generally, the anxiety that dominates our time, but cinema seems more than ever crossed by the feeling of reality. At least, this can be deducted from the images presented these days on the big screens.
The environment and its devastation, the disastrous effect of neoliberal politics, and the violence of society, are the recurring motifs in the 74th Venice Film Festival, which ends Saturday.
From the science fiction of the opening movie, Downsizing by Alexander Payne, to the fantasy of The Shape of Water, to the documentary film by Frederick Wiseman, Ex Libris, and the very current 1950s in George Clooney’s Suburbicon, to Ai WeiWei’s refugee invasion in The Human Flow, the confrontation to the times we are living, and the search for a “form” with which to tell it, appears to be a priority.
It is not a coincidence, as neither is the occurrence of religious metaphors (Aronofsky’s mother!, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed) or that lost relationship between generations reflected in the recurring presence of elderly characters (Robert Guediguian’s The villa, and Virzì’s Ella & John).
Is this the end of the world, or is this rather the expression of the inadequacy of the West and its policies that take refuge in the “familiar” confinement and self-defense nucleus?
If the policies appear defenseless, the cinema begins to look for answers.
A bet wager on the future.