Taormina clearly one of the more exciting artists in contemporary American cinema to come along in some time. The spatiality of suburbia, the intrinsic seclusion, and the inevitable alienation it fosters are astutely rendered throughout this immersive, evocative work that ultimately captures how we as social beings require interaction and engagement. Imbued with a rich, albeit understated pathos, Happer's Comet was a film made during the height of Covid that doesn't feel specific only to that moment but one that reaches for something much more expansive and incisive about modern life. Through its observational lens, Taormina unveils the collective anxiety of modern American life, eliciting a lingering unease about contemporary culture, and the quiet rot inflicted on all of us as we attempt to find meaning or resolution from the emptiness of our consumer culture where material excess provides little reprieve from existential longing. Suburban American iconography - vast yards, large homes, etc - invokes a sense of opulence, one that is cold and empty when juxtaposed with the stillness and longing showcased by the subjects observed in this story. Gives off such a distinct atmosphere, and one that perhaps captures the malaise many of us are feeling in which there is little recourse due to a world rooted not in empathy but efficiency.
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