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10 05, 2017

Below Sea Level (2008) — Dir. Gianfranco Rosi

By | 2017-09-20T20:13:24+00:00 May 10th, 2017|Categories: #6 MISFITS|Tags: , |0 Comments

© Below Sea Level — Gianfranco Rosi / 21 One Productions

2008, 110 minutes

On the remains of an old military base, 200 miles south of Los Angeles, a small community of marginals has settled, away from the harsh reality of our world. Broken by the vagaries of life and despite the difficulty of their past and current situations, they were able to organize themselves, creating a remote enclave where they can re-learn to live in spite of everything.

Shot over five years by director Gianfranco Rosi, Below Sea Level is a poignant portrait of survival in the wake of personal disasters. In a political and observational gesture, Rosi points out the contradictions of our Western societies, in which the vanity of excessive wealth can give place a few miles away to complete desolation and wretchedness.

Rosi is the spokesperson of the vanquished and the ‘losers’, giving his subjects a space in which they can express themselves freely, showcasing with grace and humility the harshness of their lives, but also their resilience and courage facing a repressive and controlling state apparatus that often forces you to follow up or die. Entering the intimacy of these men and women, we quickly realize that they are just like us, or rather that we are just like them…a coin flip away at times from losing everything we hold dear and becoming an outcast whether we intended it to happen or not.

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9 05, 2017

The Wolfpack (2015) — Dir. Crystal Moselle

By | 2017-09-20T20:15:44+00:00 May 9th, 2017|Categories: #6 MISFITS|Tags: , |0 Comments

© The Wolfpack — Crystal Moselle / Magnolia Pictures

2015, 80 minutes

What happens behind the door of a tiny New York City apartment? Surely, not many people would expect to find six young men raised in a near-cult environment and deprived of almost any contact with the outside world. Some years, the Angulo brothers were allowed to go outside for short trips. Other years, they would not be allowed to go out at all. With no one but each other for entertainment, and no means to physically escape the authoritative rule of their aggressive and paranoiac father, the Angulo brothers developed an obsession for movies, their only portal to the outside world and a way for them to express the emotions they had learned to hide for fear of reprisal. Transcribing the dialogue word-for-word of their favorite films—Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, etc.—they spend most of their time reenacting them in fine detail with homemade costumes and props.

A stunning testament of the liberating power of cinema and one of the most touching coming of age story ever captured on film, The Wolfpack, winner of the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, perfectly captures the brothers’ desire to escape their Lower East Side home prison while at the same time catalyzing it. The camera probably has a healing power for the brothers; it at least allows them to interact with a world they had been deprived of for so long.

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9 05, 2017

Grey Gardens (1975) — Dir. David & Albert Maysles

By | 2017-05-12T16:59:33+00:00 May 9th, 2017|Categories: #6 MISFITS|Tags: , |0 Comments

© Grey Gardens — Albert & David Maysles / Janus Films

1975, 94 minutes

For more than 20 years, Edith ‘Big Edie’ Bouvier Beale, 82, and her daughter, Edie ‘Litlle Edie’, 56, have lived together in a decaying 28-room East Hampton mansion by the sea. Close relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (aunt and first cousin respectively), they are surrounded on all sides by the summer quarters of the powerful and wealthy, but gone are the days when mother and daughter would live in the splendors of high-society.
The women have lost their wealth but certainly not their wit. Nor their odd grandeur, oscillating at times from tragic to comic and perfectly captured by the Maysles brothers’ cameras. Shot in a direct cinema style with no commentary from the directors and almost no contextualization on the lives of these socialites-turned-recluses, Grey Gardens leaves it to the eccentric duo to tell their own story. And boy do they speak !

Both women have a way with words that is key to the film’s hypnotic appeal, and though they may seem at times to verge towards lunacy, they become increasingly empowered by the undivided attention they receive from the Maysles. Ultimately, one of the most influential films of the last few decades, and an unprecedented mining of human psychology realized not by seeking questions, but by ‘simply’ observing.

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