CultureThe Wonder by Sebastian Lelio: a baroque and cutting...

The Wonder by Sebastian Lelio: a baroque and cutting prodigy from Florence Pugh. starring


In its famous history “Your Life Story”, Ted Chiang speculates about the possibility of an extraterrestrial language (or not so much) that creates the world in an essentially performative act and even transforms the timeline from rectilinear to circular; from the next from the past to the future to the momentary in the continuous present. Language represents nothing. Language is just everything. In fact, at its most hallucinatory extreme, the story that would later become the film “The Arrival” confirms nothing but confirms the obvious. You know, a misdemeanor of metaphors. Miracle “,last video from Sebastian Lelio based on a novel by authorship Emma Donoghue edited in Spanish as “Miracle’does not aspire to too much, but almost. On paper, this is an era drama about the dubious miracle of the Irish Famine of 1862, and in fact it is just detailed, baroque, slightly ‘Brechtian‘, pompous, dazzling and very sharp, all at once, a testimony of what language is capable of with its world-making power. And it can do anything.

With this work and the presentation of the newest, also melancholic miracle of a respected Korean director Hong Sangsoo, It can be said that San Sebastián has almost completely missed its prestigious international day. with chinese tape “woman”, Wang Chao competition has ended. And as the absolute star of it all, undoubtedly, a Chilean film with the actress of the moment Florence Pugh and produced by Netflix. Not a single film festival without the contested TV broadcast glory. Rare.

“miracle” It starts with a map where more than one person will take a ticket out of their pocket (or cell phone) to see if they have entered the correct room. What Lelio teaches in the form of a presentation has nothing to do with an island off the coast of England two centuries ago. We won’t say what we’re going to see as it won’t completely kill the surprise, but the movie starts off the way Pirandello himself would have done on a quiet afternoon. It’s not a whim. In fact, and as strange as it may seem, I know, and no one else is an argument, a reason to exist. As the director himself says: “The movie itself is also a problem.”

Florence Pugh in
Florence Pugh in “The Miracle”,

It tells about the arrival of a nurse who, on the orders of the elderly, supposedly wise and necessarily people, has to record an alleged miracle. The local pride is a girl who lives despite not eating for months. Truth or trick? Faith or Fanaticism? Patriarchy or patriarchy? Or in a different, much more adventurous and modern way: Who owns the story? Former hunger is not only about food, but also about history that feeds everything.

Below is a drama that is also intriguing, sometimes horror, and in the extreme case even “Western“. Moreover, he does not abandon his reflection on guilt, on what softens it, what condemns it, and what hope. It sounds overkill for a simple reason. Lelio is committed to everything. The last surprise, the highest, the craziest one, is that in fact everything is just a story about the very possibility of a story, about who is dictating them, about their political sense, about their ability to create the world. final performative act. And they are not aliens. They are men. They’re not women.

Above all, the ambition is impressive. Then the majesty of the proposal, which, despite the baroque style and even the pomposity of the mirrors, does not renounce the style that determined the director’s filmography “Glory”, “Disobedience” YesFantastic woman (to quote the obvious and Oscar-winning). In contrast between the disproportionality of saying everything and the almost cutting style of doing it with short phrases, almost functional shots and clean frames – all supported by Ari Wegner’s brilliant photography, otherwise it could not be – is a magnetic film that calls for mourning as well as liberation. Once again, the female body is the center as a space of struggle and identity (this was the case in “Gloria” and in all the others); again, religion as a scenario of domination (as in “Disobedience”) and … watchful for the body fluids exchanged (as well as in “Disobedience”).

The result is a movie that goes from risky to “meta-risky” (it’s a film and a metaphilm), so pushed to the limits of coolness and credibility that it is very easy to miss. It is even allowed to break the fourth wall more than once. And therefore there is nothing left but surrender. It’s not entirely emotional, despite the depth of the drama you handle, but in truth, when the time comes where everything is measured with emotions and emoticons, you appreciate a little bit of method, a few drops of something minimally thoughtful, structured and well thought out. With that said, it’s clear: language is everything, and the problem is history (flamenco emoticon here).

Director Hong Sangsoo poses with actor Kwon Hae-hyo during the presentation
Director Hong Sangsoo poses with actor Kwon Hae-hyo during “Walk up”.John SmithEFE


For the rest, the official section offered, along with the larger movie, another of the same size. approach This new Korean work is more than fertile Hong Sang-soo that somehow dances paired with “Novelist”, his penultimate work presented at the last edition of the Berlinale. If that one revolved around the writer’s doubts, then this one, as usual in the director’s self-referential filmography, revolves around the blockade of a filmmaker who is undoubtedly Sangsoo, but in a different way.

approach all this takes place in a narrow building with lots of stairs and lots of rooms where you eat, drink, chat and even love. The filmmaker goes there with the arbitrary intention of introducing his daughter to an interior designer so that the former can learn the trade. Soon and as if out of an obscure fairy talebecketti”The concerned film director is trapped inside the building, unable to do anything but absolutely nothing.

Sangsoo, who is the same, is now offered a lot more naked than ever. The film feeds on extreme simplicity with the same passion as it is filled with melancholy. The brilliant and almost faded construction from the days in which “Walk up” lives only confirms that Sangsoo is who he is without missing a single moment of being different. Continuing the arguments of the day, albeit in a completely different sense, wonderful prodigy.

And finally, “woman”, chinese director Wang Chao. It’s funny how “Zeitgeist“What pedants would say to a German without approval dictates the rules. The story we talked about at the beginning again. Chao tells the story of a woman who goes through life from male to male. It does so in the heat of the Chinese Maoist Revolution that was supposed to liberate us all. The problem is precisely that they were “everyone” in the literal sense of the word. Not a single mention of Fr. ‘all’ (With ‘Shopping mall‘We didn’t even talk).

“woman” (The Woman) represents all possible forms of masculinity that could be said to be inherently toxic. The film moves across the screen without nuances, with a sudden gesture and always aware of the suffering that never ends. We mentioned Fr.ZeitgeistA few lines above because stylistic nuances aside, this is the same movie Jaime Rosales also showed here earlier this week. “Wild Sunflowers” Yes “woman” they look in the same mirror. It can crush it.

At the moment, the competition is over. Now it remains only to see which film orders, organizes and gives sense of the festival reality. “Movie” what would you say Sebastian in San Sebastian, “This is the problem”.

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