La Sapienza (2015) - Eugene Green
Eugene Green's La Sapienza is a stunning cinematic achievement, being a film that is both incredibly intimate and profoundly vast in its dissection of life, touching on a rich assortment of humanistic sensiblilities that define who we are. The narrative is centered around Alexandre, a renowned architect, who at the height of his career decides to head to Italy with the attention of further examining the work of Borromini, one of the most celebrated architects in history. Along with his wife, Alienor, the two arrive in this beautiful setting but one can feel that there is instability in their relationship, as if their love is slipping away. Through a chance encounter they meet siblings Goffredo and Lavinia, two younger individuals. Goffredo, a young and hungry architecture student, is immediately drawn to Alexandre, hoping he can learn from a successful man. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that this relationship isn't merely a student - mentor dynamic, as both young and old learn a lot from one and other. At its core, La Sapienza is a film about humanities struggle between the darkness and the light, the importance of finding happiness in life, and overcoming the negative aspects of one's existence. Alexandre and Alienor's relationship has deteriorated due to the tragic loss of their son, with their new found friendships with there young counterparts being the key to them rediscovering the joy and beauty of their lives. Having lots of existential qualities, La Sapienza beautifully captures the constant flux life truly is, as humanity has always attempted to understand and compromise ourselves and existence whether through religion, psychology or science. The film seems to speak to the importance of finding the source of light, the joy all of us are capable of, whether through spirituality, architecture, history, etc. Featuring Green's trademark style of cold, mechanical direction, with beautiful uae of symmetry and meticulously crafted compositions, La Sapienza uses architecture to comment on humanities short term memory, juxtaposing old vs. new, showing disdain for our ability to paint over the past while championing the importance of remembering where we came from both culturally and historically. Green's patented closeup shots are very much in tact with La Sapienza, but the way he continually punches in closer and closer onto the subject during a conversation is unique, as he attempts to capture every emotion of his characters, doing so in a visually expressive way that captures the deepening connection these characters have as their conversations become deeper and more intimate. Eugene Green's La Sapienza is thematic rich and challenging, being a film that should probably be seen multiple times, profoundly capturing humanity and life on both a grand and intimate scale.
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