Not much to say, infuriating and depressing. A personal story of struggle and sacrifice that doesn't attempt to pretend the edifice of the documentary format in itself is one rooted in 100% objectivity. Focusing on Venezuela's healthcare crisis, the film profiles the bravery of those who have stayed behind, profiling in particular two doctors who stay and fight despite the unsure future of both themselves and their country. The black-and-white scenes in particular are an interesting choice - therapy sessions which one could argue detach the viewer from the overarching story of Venezuela yet they also provide insight into the internalized struggle of the individuals the film documents. In a sense these scenes empower their subjects, give them a platform, to express their emotions, often rooted in turmoil but also at times, hope. Harrowing stuff right here.
Plucky and playful, Manoel de Olivera's The Divine Comedy manages to never divulge into pretension, despite its lofty philosophical aims. The madness of faith is certainly a central dialect of Oliveira's dense and pedantic philosophical romp and yet the film subverts this assertion in order to dig deeper, exhibiting an outright rejection of the so-called binary which modernity places between religion and science, offering instead a deconstruction in which both objects are in fact analogous when viewed through the lens of authority and by proxy power. The Divine Comedy sheds insight on the tyranny of mankind's penchant for objectivity, this orthodox-like requirement rooted in existentialism provides a breeding ground for the omnipresence of authority and power, forces which intrinsically restrict and reject the autonomy of the living. Authority and thus Power, whether decreed via science, politics, theology is exhibited as somewhat irrelevant throughout this playful intellectual piece, astutely revealing how all such forces can reject a general sense of free association and pluralism, despite their surface-level potential or promise for human progress. The irrationality of man, caught between powerful forces of mind and body, emotion and intellect, is displayed throughout The Divine Comedy's duration, as the freedom vs. security paradigm of human existence and the faux projection which authority exhibits whether through politics, theology, or scientific doctrine is lambasted in this gleefully pedantic romp.
Visually astute and creatively designed, the film uses its dimwitted, empathetic protagonist with great utility, effectively weaponizing its fairy tale soaked formalism and overall light sensibilities into a pointed, brazen anti-nationalist message. Embraces yet distorts the tropes of fairy tale lure - the handsome prince with the heart of gold, the wicked sisters - weaving a playful examination of the state of the world, one that is far from subtle in its personal affront of nationalism in Portugal under this current epoch. Presented with satirical flair and absurdist sensibilities, Dimantino touches on a host of contemporary socio-political talking points related to national and gender identity, as well as other societal defined constructions, doing so in a way that never feels pedantic nor didactic, evoking the same general sense of empathy and optimism as its main protagonist and in doing the film feels very much like a modern fairy tale with its melodramatic confrontations and moralist undercurrent with an important message.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.