’: the cinema of Angela Schanelec, between the intellectual challenge and the indecipherable torture | Culture

’: the cinema of Angela Schanelec, between the intellectual challenge and the indecipherable torture | Culture
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Define as cryptic a film such as Music It’s almost an exaggeration. And not by excess but by defect: it is incomprehensible. The usual specialists at international festivals are on notice with the cinema of the German Angela Schanelec, who is by no means new to challenging the audience: you have to be awake, focused and surely also with a certain degree of faith in her work . If you are caught off guard, more than one person is capable of coming out to tell the projectionist that the image has been frozen in a plane that, without seeming to mean much either in its ethics or in its aesthetics, has been there for longer than necessary. Much more time than necessary.

Even the most fans of his contemplative, enigmatic and, at times, artistic cinema, doubt whether they have managed to understand his latest work this time, this Music which this Wednesday opens in Spain, even more twisted than usual, the second of his filmography to reach our cinemas after I was at home, but… (2020), thanks to the courage of the distributor Atalante.

With Schanelec’s impenetrable cinema there are only two options: either you love it or you endure it. There is not even room for hate, because in her—not like with others, with scammers—there is room for the middle ground. And the work of the German filmmaker and visual artist is no scam. Nor the genius that some believe it to be; Without going any further, the jury that awarded him the prize for best script at the Berlin festival, an award that is an incitement in itself: official praise for the best script, for the film with the least text, story and actions, and with the most ellipses (unintelligible) of how many can be seen at a film festival today. Music, his tenth feature film, lasts one hour and 48 minutes, but it could easily last a lifetime, depending on how you approach it. It is a challenge. Intellectual, if you will. But let each one, in his or her own cinema solitude, give a name to that challenge, which others will call provocation.

A moment from the movie ‘’.

The story, less than more, revolves around the Oedipus complex, a crime and a forbidden marriage. Or something like that. Full of eternal silences, with actions disconnected from each other and with ellipses that are more complicated than complex (which is not the same thing) throughout four indecipherable decades, Music It starts with five minutes of tedium surrounding a car accident. But Schanelec suddenly introduces an unexpected and evocative shot of a newborn baby, wrapped in a car by a man. Sky and sea in the background. Scrupulous silence. There, just in those seconds, in the face of the initial incomprehension, a thought arises: concentration, that this is serious, and it can be a cathartic experience. But is not. Shortly after, a still shot of a young man bandaging his ankle for endless minutes (or seconds that seem like minutes, or minutes that seem like hours) brings us back to the question: and what is this for?

She has been compared to Robert Bresson and Chantal Akerman, but not even they were so secretive. The delicacy of a plane in a garden; the free calm of a river’s water; the calm of a day spent surrounded by nature, and the exquisiteness of certain frames (not many either) help to reconnect with Schanelec’s methodology. However, almost immediately, once again, boredom. There will be those who say that it was worth the effort. The one who writes this, no.



Address: Angela Schanelec.
Performers: Aliocha Schneider, Agathe Bonitzer, Marisa Triandafyllidou.
Gender: drama. Germany, 2023.
Duration: 108 minutes.
Premiere: May 1.

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