Wondering what to watch this weekend? Though the films covering the subject vary in their presentation, pain is the thread that connects the highlights of the streaming services this week.
This does not mean that these characteristics collapse into misery, in fact, in most cases it is just the opposite. The release of Netflix Athenadirected by Romain Gavras, channels the loss into a Molotov cocktail of righteous anger, as it describes a battle between the citizens of a French banlieu (apartment complex) against policemen who killed a boy.
Meanwhile, anime streaming giant Crunchyroll continues a weekly feature release plan with huge international success Jujutsu Kaisen 0, a prequel film to the beloved television series. In the film, its haunted protagonist Yuta faces the loss of his childhood sweetheart, tragically killed in a car accident but remaining like a cursed spirit that threatens everyone around Yuta.
Read more: All new on Prime Video in September
Out now, After Yang takes a slightly gentler approach to mourning, a metaphysical science fiction film by Kogonada (director of Colombo) observing attempts by a family to fix their unresponsive robotic child.
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After Yang (2021) – NOW with a Sky Cinema subscription (choice of the week)
Though it opens with the same kind of patiently framed drama one expects from the serene and soulful film director. Colombothe new Kogonada movie After Yang Quickly defies the expectations of a film about characters fumbling in pain with a delightful dance sequence, an online conception between families, immersed in a bold spectrum of colors that would associate with speculative science fiction.
Read more: All new on NOW and Sky in September
That playfulness continues in the form of the film, as a first-two shots change both the relationship and the lens as it places the viewer in the subjective point of view of his characters as they come into contact with each other via a sort of augmented reality video call. It’s gratifying to see science fiction concepts presented in such a purely cinematic way: Kogonada’s visual style remains intimate even as the scope of his script increases.
Watch a trailer for After Yang
After Yang takes advantage of the film’s futuristic premise for the domestic drama, a family spiraling after their robot child Yang (Justin H. Min) malfunctions, opening up an insight into Asian cultural heritage and adoption. Yang was originally acquired by Jake (Colin Farrell) and Kyra (Jodie Turner-Smith) to try to keep their daughter Mika (Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja) in touch with her cultural roots. Yang himself literally does it in flashbacks using different trees to explain his different connections.
Yang’s memories are displayed and contrasted with his absence as the family torments themselves about how to fix things: a human problem seen through the lens of a world where a robotic child is bought refurbished, like a laptop, his memories in below can be viewed as a video.
Kogonada finds in these memories a quiet majesty. The files are accessed through lights reminiscent of galaxies, a powerful and overwhelming illustration of the unknown complexity of Yang’s inner life. This makes the parent’s attempt to rationalize it as a product impossible, making the sense of loss even more difficult to shake.
Such questions overlap with those about the rights of “technosapiens”, as well as a very prescient observation of our increasingly symbiotic relationship with technology, which mostly deflects the twists of Black Mirror’s hands, without being blindly utopian.
A wonderful song that Kogonada captures from the film All about Lily Chou Chou it is an indicator of its position: technology is more often an expansion of human sentiment than an inhibitor.
Also on NOW: Uncharted (2022)
Athena (2022) – Netflix
The new feature film by Parisian director Romain Gavras develops as a series of long, wandering, almost panicked shots of varying lengths. The longest and most breathtaking of these comes before the title treatment, as he begins the film by overseeing something that has sadly become routine nowadays: a press conference about the brutal killing of a young man, Idir, by the police.
Read more: All new on Netflix in September
They closed ranks, refusing to identify those responsible. One of the Adbel of the victim’s brother (There is no time to die‘s Dali Benssalah who is doing a lot of heavy work) asks calmly, not long before her other brother Karim quickly pushes his neighbors in Athena’s banlieu to go to war with the police until the names of the killers.
Perhaps best known for his music videos, the most famous’Wow‘by Jamie XX,’Fatigue‘for justice,’Bad Girls‘of MIA and’No churches in the wild‘by Jay Z and Kanye West, Gavras channels the right fury into the film’s opening action sequence, coordinating it with hilarious and elegant aplomb.
The camera lowers and twists in and out of the rooms as it follows Karim through the police station in search of their stash of weapons, back out in a stolen van and into apartment buildings as the comrades in arms ride their motocross bikes. along the highway in solidarity, fireworks launched in every direction.
It turns out that this is quite easily the peak of the film’s power; the effect loses its brilliance when Gavras repeats this method as he introduces each of the film’s key participants and follows them through the chaos that unfolds, including a nervous cop and Karim’s nasty, unbridled brother and gangster Moktar.
The presence of the latter two does not completely derail the film into useless “both sides” that pontificate on violence between police and civilians, instead it only adds new wrinkles that make the conflict more irresistibly messy. The biggest mistake in this sense is reserved for the literal last minute, in which he absolves the police of provocation by making a distinction between the different parties that seems false.
However, there is an interesting conflict within Brother Abdar, between the pacifism driven by the Islamic faith, his reluctance to fight the authority stemming from his military career (a point of contention with many of his neighbors) and his obvious pain for the injustice committed against his brother and his desire to protect the survivors.
But in Gavras’s long twisty takes, observing these internal contradictions ultimately gets lost in the director’s desire to focus a little too much on the chaos and the show and his insistence on staying at an operatic level, which, ironically. , begins to make the film static, at least emotionally – the constant movement of the director’s chosen method that he ultimately just carried around after his hilarious first 20 minutes.
Also on Netflix: Coming Home (2022), Do Revenge (2022)
Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (2021) – Crunchyroll
The anime series JUJUTSU KAISEN – one of the most popular rides, just like the best-selling manga it’s based on – has always been open about its legacy. The Shonen anime (anime aimed at teenage boys, although the actual audience is always much wider) is often rightly accused of hegemony, repackaging and supplanting the same themes and character types and power-level-obsessed fighting in a new setting. .
Read more: All new on Paramount + in September
Jujutsu Kaisen he manages to stay cool thanks to his keen awareness of the tropes he’s falling into, and instead engages with their story, playing with the guy and often subverting him in fun, if not downright revolutionary ways.
The film related to the series, JUJUTSU KAISEN 0, although it’s a prequel about a different set of characters, it’s a pretty simple extension of that. Directed by Sunghoo Park, it follows Yuta Okkotsu, a nervous high school student, who enrolls at the mysterious Tokyo Jujutsu High School under the guidance of Satoru Gojo after being haunted by his childhood friend’s curse.
Again, there’s a lot of the familiar wrapped up in the film’s runtime, so it helps that under the direction of Sunghoo Park the show, manga creator Gege Akutami’s passion for mixing the macabre with comic is lively. and visually invigorating.
Even with all the extra sophistication given to its animation production, there is a rawness in the storylines of JUJUTSU KAISEN 0, with effects works depicted with broad brushstrokes and bold, invasive colors. It is easy to understand why the film dominated the domestic and foreign box office, an audience success conducted with the utmost confidence and style.
Also on Crunchyroll: The Stranger Sword (2007), The Girl Who Leaped Through Time (2006)