‘Chiaroscuro’ on Netflix: Clash of Worlds in Black and White | Actress Rebecca Hall’s first feature

Lightweight – 7 points

pass US/UK, 2021

Direction and text: Rebecca Hall.

Period: 98 min.

Translators: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland, Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinajbe, Alexander Skarsgård.

Premiere on Netflix.

original title of chiaroscuroAnd For the first time as a director, actress Rebecca Hall (Vicki Cristina Barcelona, at recent days dark house) is not particularly easy to translate. The expression “traverse” in this case refers to practice “Impersonating” a white person to avoid racial prejudice. The new director, who cannot be called a Caucasian woman, repeated in several interviews that she had read the writer’s novel for the first time. in Larsen upon which the film is based in a complete creative reflection on her bi-racial history (born in London, Hall is the daughter of an English father and a Dutch-American and African-American mother). Larsen’s novel at the time of its publication in 1929 was described as a mulatto drama – a word that was never used in the film – describing the relationship between Two childhood friends, both of mixed races, To meet again after many years.

While Erin marries a black doctor, reasserting her African descent in public and private life, Claire becomes the wife of a white man, leaving behind her ancestry from Harlem and any ties to the black community and culture. text chiaroscuro Closely follow the original plot lines, including its ambiguous ending, choosing a black and white image and A semi-square screen adapted to classic cinema shapes of the 1920s and 1930s (The story takes place in that period of changing contracts, in complete prohibition.) Contrary to what can be inferred from the first scenes, which modeled the opportunity to meet old friends in a luxury New York hotel, the tone chosen for Hole is not that of historical realism, but a style based on semi-literary dialogues and in an image that enhances the most expressive aspects –Expressionists, even – from the environments, reflecting the internal state of the protagonist, Irene (one of the main characters Tessa Thompson), whose film never gives up its point.

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From there to the possible confusion with the seemingly “theatrical” aspect of the scenes, there is a step, but be careful: here is the cinema. Far from the direct and continuous projection of titles like mother of the bluesAnother title he got NetflixAnd pass – which comes from touring several festivals after their premiere SundanceAvoid misusing the ideological agenda It focuses on the intricacies of the characters, particularly their contradictions. CLEAR (Ruth Negga), on a long visit to New York, not only restores the relationship with Irene, but also intends to restore lost relations with her origin, sharing outings and meetings with the spouses, always secretly from her partner, a man outright racism interpreted by Alexander Skarsgard. Glamorous and intelligent, outgoing, glamorous and intelligent, Claire effortlessly becomes the new center of attention in the social scene of Erin, whose wealthy financial life goes hand in hand with philanthropic activities and faces progressive Karim in New York. The area of ​​friction and paradoxes embodied by the great writer Bill Camp With some ironic humor.

An attitude of relative safety and comfort to Irene and her family conflicts with news Extrajudicial executions and killing of black citizens They fill the pages of newspapers and Erin systematically hides from her young children. Is it possible to reconcile the two worlds, preventing the existence of reality to build another possible one? Eren does not listen or pretend not to listen to her husband’s (Andre Holland) repeated request to leave the United States, and when this and other internal conflict raises the volume of the internal debate, the protagonist enters a phase of strength. “Sadnes” , To use the term according to time, accompanied by the piano soundtrack to “The Homeless Wanderer,” by Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, a recurring leitmotif of those days and nights that resemble a silent earthquake.

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