Venice 2022: We rate Inarritu's "Bardo" and "Un couple" according to Zofia Tolstoj's memoirs
We’re in a hurry with another review straight from the Venetian Lido. ukasz Muszyński, who was present at the venue, just watched Alejandro González Iñárit’s new film, which has won four Oscars, titled “Bardo”. On the other hand, Wojciech Tu shares his impressions of “Un couple” by Frederic Wiseman. Both films are competing for the Golden Lion in the main competition.

over here However, you can read Łukasz’s impressions after watching Noah Baumbach, who opened the festival, with Adam Driver – as the author wrote – “perfect in his role”, and this is Click here to find Wojciech Tu’s rating for “Tár” – a story about the life of an outstanding conductor, written by Todd Field specifically for Cate Blanchett.


“Very” (review of “Bardo” by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)

The presentation of “Bardot, or False Dating of a Handful of Facts” left me confused. I felt as if I had just come back from a long and exhausting journey that deserved a report in the form of a book or an article of dozens of pages. Meanwhile, the festival dates are being chased, the Filmweb homepage is demanding new material for a big picture, and Internet users – an unequivocal assessment. And take it here, references, be smart.

If I were to sum up Alejandro Gonzalez Inarate’s new piece in one sentence, I would write that in “Bardo” it’s all too often. The intensity of the experience the director presents to us during the show can only match the scale of his artistic pretensions. In nine cases out of ten, the above statement may sound like an objection. However, in “Bardo” – a personal work that contains biographical elements – the explosion and weakness of striking symbolism are indispensable elements of the character of the artist and the hero. And since the film itself takes the form of a stream of consciousness, in which present and past, dream and reality, surrealism and ultra-realism mingle freely, this precious art has its charm.

The protagonist of “Bardo” is Silverio Gama (Daniel Jimenez Cacho) – a respected journalist and documenter living in Los Angeles, who returns to his native Mexico after a decade and a half of emigration. The guy will soon be honored with a prestigious international award, which is why a short visit to his homeland will be a triumphant tour in the media and banquets for him. It soon turned out that there were problems everywhere in the old Silveria litter. His compatriots do not forget that he gave up his country for a demonic neighbor from the north. Fear of old age and death in the eye. The wife rebukes selfishness and puts loved ones on the altar of profession. The offspring of teens — who was born in Mexico but raised in the United States — face an identity crisis. And as if that were not enough, the memory of the tragedy years ago does not give peace.

To say that Inarritu aims high is to say nothing. The “Birdman” author clearly aspires that his new movie should one day go along with the screen drives of the subconscious of characters like Fellini’s “Eight and a Half” and Bergman’s “Wild Strawberry.” Since the first scene, in which a mysterious character casts long shadows into the sky and flies over the desert, we feel like the four-time Oscar winner is headed for the absolute. “Bardo” is a story about the high price of success, a diagnosis of diseases that have consumed Mexico for hundreds of years, a harrowing account of the world of illegal immigrants, an experiment about the trumpet of fantasy over truth, and finally a meditation on death (the film’s title, derived from Buddhist philosophy, means a state of transition between the end of life and rebirth). However, the above list is only a small part of what the movie is about. One gets the impression that while writing the script, the director decided to clear his mind of everything, literally all the thoughts that have been fluttering in his head for the past few years. Brave self-medication or brazen megalomania? Everything is everywhere at once.

The full review of ukasz Muszyński’s movie “Bardo” can be read on the movie card over here.


92-year-old Frederick Wiseman has taken such a strong position in the world of cinema that he no longer has to prove anything. A living legend of an American documentary can film what he wants and when he wants, always expecting a warm reception at prestigious festivals. However, no one expected that a director known for direct cinema would make his last film based on Zofia Tolstoy’s “memoirs”. Breaking with the method practiced for many years, consisting of the patient, many hours of observation, the lack of comment from non-staff and leaving room for the public for independent evaluation, unfortunately Wiseman was unsuccessful. “Un couple” is a rather boring and monotonous miniature filled with the almost continuous monologue of the wife of a prominent Russian writer. The work is neither a classic nor a close plot. Rather, it is a cross between the theater of a single actress and shots of a idyllic nature.

If you think I’m exaggerating, let me explain the movie’s skeleton. The camera, in close-ups or mid-size plans, looks at Zofia, with whom she shares a series of thoughts on her marriage to Leo Tolstoy. It tells about their separation, the beginnings of a relationship, the happiest years and moments of terrible bitterness. She addresses her husband directly, but he never appears on screen. The protagonist stays on an island cut off from the world and plunges into more and more acute gloom. The lines spoken by Natalie Putevo are inspired by Tolstoyova’s intimate notes, and sometimes also contain quotes from Leo’s letters to his beloved. Among these fragments, the director weaves luminous and cheerful images of blooming plants, jungle animals and the rocky coast. Everything shuts down in an hour and more of a standalone job, it’s like a proper weight-free narrative exercise.

So what prompted Wiseman, who had been interested in the world of public institutions for decades, when he began working on the script? Certainly the desire to bring out a slightly forgotten but intriguing figure that the distinguished pair still dominates. Zofia not only copied the manuscripts of Tolstoy’s most important novels, but also coordinated their publication and took an interest in saving the artist’s legacy. She eagerly reached for a pen and created a very personal “diary”. The creator of “High School” intentionally focuses all attention on the emotional and emotional reflexes of a mature woman in order to regain lost subjectivity and individuality. Zofia confides in many private secrets and honestly tells the hardships of her relationship with the famous prose writer. He is not afraid to be criticized for his alienation from himself, for his sense of intellectual superiority and his lack of participation in family life. He admits how much pain he caused her by his sick jealousy and by throwing all the housework on the shoulders of women. Even if the heroine’s confession does not leave us completely indifferent and surprises us with conclusions about the still burning feeling, it goes back to the sad truth about a person’s repressed dependence on a partner. An emotional rather than an economic dependency, because Zofia had more practical skills than Lew, forever immersed in the world of fantasy. Wiseman does not provide us with anything particularly revealing, especially since the long-term relationship between Tolstoys is by no means exceptional. After all, it is a typical example of the age of an older and more experienced man marrying a girl entering adulthood. The director also failed to penetrate the mystery of the boundless love of women, which she contained in the pages of her memoirs. Wiseman wanders over the surface of Tolstoyova’s later notes, but without delving too much and without trying to ask uncomfortable questions or formulate provocative theses.

You can find the full review of Wojciech Tu’s “Un couple” movie. on movie card.

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