'Beginning', the film that will remain from the San Sebastián 2020 festival

'Beginning', the film that will remain from the San Sebastián 2020 festival

Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili presents her candidacy for the Golden Shell as Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci star in a routine collection of affected gestures in 'Supernova'

'Beginning', the film that will remain from the San Sebastián 2020 festival

Fashion, in George Simmel's pioneering analysis, serves both to differentiate a group from its social, economic, or class rivals, and to bring equals together. It separates as much as it unifies. But perhaps the most interesting of the ' simmeliano ' analysis refers to what the trends have as a mask. Comply with the rules dictated by the common, tells us the sense of the obvious, annuls individuality and the free exercise of thought, but also, and this is what is relevant, offers the option of hiding behind the rules so as not to be distracted by stupid things and to concentrate. in this way “in what is intimate and essential.” And so.

' Beginning ', by Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili, is that film so beloved at festivals that it concentrates both enthusiasm and misgivings. Let's say it exists to be fashionable: it unites and separates at the same time. From a distant, perhaps external look, everything about her is too impeccable, too magnetic, undoubtedly overwhelming. Overwhelming even with one of the most enigmatic and powerful endings to be seen in a long time.

His studied formal perfection, however, invites suspicion. A conspicuous viewer (let alone a critic or a sad movie buff) doesn't give up so easily. But as soon as the rules proposed by the film are accepted without necessarily being offended; if it is assumed that every director (in this case director) has the right to a mask (and here Simmel's reflection); then, there is nothing left but to surrender to the obvious. 'Beginning' is the most provocatively original film with a vocation for its own voice that has passed through this San Sebastian Festival. What's more, it will be the movie that remains. As it is.

'Beginning', the film that will remain from the San Sebastián 2020 festival

The film tells the story of Yana (actress Ia Sukhitashvili ), a woman harassed from all fronts. She is the wife of the leader of the Jehovah's Witness community in a town lost between mountains, rivers and infinite prejudices. In the first scene near the seizure, the church (or whatever) in which a ceremony is being held is attacked with fire by someone who, in the absence of any better definition, can be called an extremist. The whole story revolves around her as a woman despised, used, ignored and finally treated with that condescension that is so badly distinguished from insult. In reality, everything runs inside. Violence is exhibited with a parsimony, tranquility and elegance that, far from naturalizing it or turning it into a spectacle, reveals it in everything that is intimate, essential, common and shared.

It is impossible not to draw lines of contact between the proposal of the newcomer Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili and the cinema, for example, of the Mexican Carlos Reygadas , who is not for nothing as a producer. Excessive care (or even virtuous exhibitionism) in putting it all together can be argued. It is slightly overwhelmed by the somewhat naive and terribly voracious rigor of making the oppressive and discriminatory scheme of social institutions, call them that, coincide in the same line of reasoning, such as motherhood, marriage, the state and religion. But what remains safe is the clarity of a film that dares to trace exclusively cinematographic solutions, not discursive or literary, to an argument that is both provocation and evidence.

From the hand of a huge leading actress, Dea (apparently in Georgia the polite way of referring to a person is by name, not by surname) manages to trace in the crudest of what is never told: that other part which has to do not so much with the humiliation of women as a correctable accident in history, but with the very structure of a society that has deposited its own reason for being in precisely that humiliation. And that applies to all levels: from the most banal everyday to the very roots of theology. It sounds tremendous and, indeed, it is.

' Beginning ' is a film that captivates with the same force that makes you alert. It is cinema for interrogation, investigation and even doubt. It is cinema, which in its somnambulous and magnetic appearance aspires to everything, starting with the Golden Shell. Yes, it is the fashion film, but, as Simmerl has already ventured, fashion as a mask is not necessarily synonymous with futile or perishable. Dea is here to stay.

'Beginning', the film that will remain from the San Sebastián 2020 festival

The melodrama and the cliché

Actually, and long before ' Beginning ' took center stage, the day was originally dedicated to ' Supernova ', the second film by fellow actor Harry Macqueen. With Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci in the cast and with a story around death, love and Alzheimer's, the so-called prestigious cinema has its particular Tourmalet here. The result (it is not clear if instead or accordingly) is quite disheartening.

Macqueen rather than tell a story, let them tell it to him. The entire film, from the presentation of the characters to the structure in the form of a journey through the tremendous ending, is limited to stringing together common places, clichés and gestures of an excellent actor. Right from the beginning, the drawing of the leading couple as two homosexuals (one is a writer and the other a pianist) very refined, cultured and very cynical, it seems a parody of what the end-of-year works must be every year at Oxford . There is a moment when, in front of a group of family and friends, Firth reads Tucci's farewell letter that would read like a scene written by an app.

It is true that the film offers exactly what it promises. He is clear about what he wants to tell and he clings to it with a faith between blind and only foolish. Firth and Tucci do nothing but what they know how to do with the solvency and brilliance of always. And if they don't take a single step outside the demanding limit, it's not their fault. Perhaps from the respective representatives. Be that as it may, no one is safe from a silly , soft or emotional day. But if Firth plays the piano at the end and everything!

Finally, the official section programmed ' We will never die' , by Argentine Eduardo Crespo , and we breathed again. It is about counting the period of mourning that a mother and her youngest child face before the death of the eldest, son and brother respectively. The director manages so that nothing happens except such delicately intense pain (or intensely delicate, as you like) whose sole purpose is to suspend the viewer's gaze in a space and time without space or time. It seems contradictory and it's really just melancholy.

The film progresses only pending its clarity, its determination to recreate that moment by force strange (the death of a loved one) in which everything loses meaning to, immediately afterwards, recover it, but in another way. Suddenly, everything seems new, seen for the first time, but forever . It is a story of growth, but it is also a story of estrangement. Fleet.

And tomorrow we will talk about ' Beginning ' again.

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