Trouble has emerged at a particularly critical point for Northern Ireland, where violent sectarian tensions have been reinvigorated with the uncertainty spawned by Brexit. What Garnett’s film contributes is an acceptance of profound complexity in the face of belligerent binaries.
Fire Will Come, with its single location and small cast, is a more focused work than Mimosas, but maintains a similar sense of possibility as the earlier film, of things unknowable to the viewer. What’s really important may be happening somewhere outside of the frame.
In adapting London’s novel, Marcello and his screenwriting partner Maurizio Braucci have transposed Eden’s story from turn-of-the-century Oakland to the coast of Naples, but they’ve also left the question of when intentionally unresolved, indeterminate.
Seeking historical and temporal specificity ultimately proves fruitless, and provocatively so: The Irishman is, after all, based on an account of a subjective reality, an exactingly detailed version of one man’s perception of history, and of himself.
Though an adroit orchestrator of discrete scenes, Lapid has thus far struggled to construct wholly satisfying narrative containers for them. So if Synonyms stands as his most accomplished work to date, that is because it commits fully to an elliptical, disjunctive method.
Lest his film be charged with trafficking in the same philistine stuff as pornography, Serra rarely, if ever, allows his erotica to be, well, erotic. Not as well versed in the art of the exaggerated orgasm as adult-film actors, his nonprofessionals are awkward and imprecise.
Shooting their dog protagonists in often exquisitely intimate close-ups of grizzled maws, fleshy gums, and weathered paw pads, the filmmakers foreground their curious status as semi-wild beasts that subsist both in the middle and at the margins of human society.
To begin with, designed as a one-director anthology film, it picks up and disposes of various narrative threads rather than staying with the same plotline or plotlines (or absence of plot) throughout. Secondly, it depends almost not at all on real-time duration to fill itself out.