Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Directors/New Films: Happy Times Will Come Soon

In Happy Times Will Come Soon, Alessandro Comodin tries to work out a new filmic vocabulary that merges realistic fiction with fable—fracturing time, tracing out just the barest outline of each character and situation, sometimes mixing realism with surrealism, and lingering so long on shots in which the action barely changes that he all but forces us to be in the moment with him. But while the director creates many individual moments of beauty, his film is a mélange of gorgeous tiles that never quite comes together as a mosaic.

The first part follows two beautiful young Italian men, Tommaso (Erikas Sizonovas) and Arturo (Luca Bernardi), as they escape from something unseen and run up a gorgeous wooded mountain, in one of many hyperextended takes. We never learn what they’re running from, where they’re planning to go, or what their relationship is to one another. At first, especially when they stop to wrestle, it seems that they might be lovers, but as time goes on, and the competent and confident Arturo continues to take the lead as Tomasso follows, they appear to be something closer to friends, or perhaps brothers.

With nothing manmade in sight but their clothes and the ragged lid of a can that they use as a knife, even the time period here feels indefinite. Nearly everything these men do—build fires, splash happily in a sunlit stream, trap a rabbit, adopt a stray dog that shows up in their camp one night—could have sprung from any fairy tale about young people lost in the woods. Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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