August Diehl in The Young Karl Marx

Romanticized rebellion sneaks through The Young Karl Marx; double lover provides an antidote to millennial sexual confusion.

Jhere is a phantom thread in The Young Karl Marx. The film’s triumphant climax shows the writing and publication of The communist manifesto in 1848, with Marx (August Diehl), his wife Jenny (Vicky Krieps) and Friedrich Engels (Stefan Konarske) formulating and revising the famous opening line, “A specter haunts Europe”. They try “bogeyman”, then “spectre”, but the word “ghost” is not just a matter of semantics. Cosmopolitan filmmaker Raoul Peck dramatizes the phantom thread that weaves itself, invisible, through much of millennial culture.

Peck’s bio-picture could be retitled “Karl Marx, Superhero” because it essentially follows the origin-myth model of the comic book movies. This is not a denigration, when we know that Peck, who co-wrote the screenplay with Pascal Bonitzer (a major collaborator of André Téchiné, Claude Chabrol and Jacques Rivette) guesses the popular and serious esteem for the ideas and the historical character of Marx in this undisguised film. lionization. Think about why it took so long for the filmmakers to declare their loyalty.

As Peck’s most accomplished film to date, it follows his highly acclaimed James Baldwin documentary, I’m not your nigga, in which he made strategic use of the biography of another cultural figure. It was clear from the reception of this documentary by the media and the Film Academy that his political sympathies and his implicit impulse to revolution had an appeal for the times. Disney-Marvel fantasies are now catching audiences with Black Panther, as with other comic book origin stories, may be crudely commercial and non-politically aware exhibitionists, but Haiti-born Peck is a sophisticated politician. Here he works in the mode of conventional left-wing sentiment familiar from the heritage of European cinema, but it goes beyond rhetorically stunted Americans. (The problem with I’m not your nigga is that it was rhetorically obvious and specious – yet it was the film that adherents of Black Lives Matter were surprised to find they had been waiting for. And Peck more than obliged.)

The film’s standard, reverential bio-pic style suggests an official release, or a primer, but it’s also a matter of the filmmakers’ sympathies aligning themselves with today’s cultural drift.

Peck presents the cavalcade of fate after the industrial revolution: Marx meets Engels; their match between political intellect and practical experience; the bohemian struggle of the one and the bourgeois alienation of the other; the confluence of the political and literary ambitions of the two men. The film’s standard, reverential bio-pic style suggests an official release, or a primer, but it’s also a matter of the filmmakers’ sympathies aligning themselves with today’s cultural drift. Cinematographer Kolja Brandt talks about Vittorio Storaro’s Halo work on Reds. But this film is more focused than Reds, without any of that trashy and distracting Hollywood romanticism. Famous names pass there: Bakounine, Weitling, and with Olivier Gourmet who makes the strongest impression as a bearded Proudhon with glasses.

When the dynamic communist duo is told, “You’ve got the Hegelian dialectic back on its feet,” Peck and Bonitzer are flattering political science students that Warren Beatty wouldn’t dare approach. Even sex is deferentially politicized: Hannah Steele as Engels’ wife, Mary Burns, is a free love ember, while Krieps, so off-putting in ghost yarn, almost redeems herself as a bourgeois and hypocritical companion of Marx. A slightly repulsive life force, Mrs. Marx desires rebellion: “I want to see the old world crack. We will overthrow it! No longer posing as a high fashion model, as she did in ghost yarn, Krieps is now playing a highly fascist role model. And Marx agrees, saying: “The world must be transformed. “Transform” being a leftist code word of the past eight years.

The Young Karl Marx is the real Reds (Marx and Engels urge the European dissenters of the Righteous League to transform into the Communist League, flying its first scarlet banner), and the rebellion is the film’s real romance. Rebellion is the phantom thread slyly embroidered in millennial culture.

***

The moral compass of François Ozon zigzags madly in double loverthe first good film of 2018, since it presents Chloé Fortin (Marine Vacth), a young Parisian whose inexplicable and overwhelming physical discomfort could be more than psychological.

Seeking to understand her inner pain – Ozon satirizes the almost unprecedented conscientious examination of conscience of this millennium – Chloé descends into the labyrinth of psychoanalysis, falls in love and then marries her therapist, Paul Mayer (Jérémie Renier). His instability increases (“I want to stay weak, keep suffering while you stay strong”) after inspecting his mysterious past and meeting his estranged – and dangerous – twin brother (also a psychoanalyst and sadist).

The “double” theme, a staple of horror films, prompts Ozon’s teasing associations with other films, including Brian De Palma’s cheeky forays into sexual titillation (which, oddly enough, also revealed his satire social innate, a reflex of his cultural consciousness). double lover mixes film and social consciousness through intoxicating sequences between Chloé’s distress, her fantasies and her surreal discoveries of life; we are seduced by an almost palpable intimate confession and sexual exposition. The first therapy session is a De Palma-worthy montage of split-screen interfacing. It’s the film’s aesthetic highlight even though Ozon’s later, more explicit sexual graphics attempt to go deeper and literally deeper (including reverse sex toy roleplay, a floating lip exam, dissolving from Chloe’s vulva to her startled eye). But the purely cinematic pantomime of person-to-person intimacy is a memorably powerful exploration of the complexity of trust, and that’s the film’s political trump card.

Ozon regularly improves and refines his directing style. double loverThe plot of (from a pot Joyce Carol Oates) is not as satisfying as recent Ozon films Young and Beautiful, In the House, The New Girlfriend, and Frantzor his comic-spiritual masterpiece Ricky – all works in which his minor league taunts have shown impressive stylistic authority. Corn Double lovers fascinating even if it diverts the work of the masters of Ozon (De Palma’s sistersthat of Bunuel beautiful day) Upside down.

Vacth’s girl-model sensuality presents a challenge to the age of the pink pussy hat in which feminist panic ironically suggests a loss of confidence. Strutting nonchalantly through an art gallery, where Chloe works amidst outrageously erotic sculptures, Vacth puts on a vibrant spectacle of genre mystique while Renier, with his flat-nosed resemblance to Ringo Starr, plays a dual role that is a corresponding essay on the phases of male eroticism. threatens. So even when double lover becomes silly and Oatesian, it functions as an antidote to the absurd cultural deceptions of Paul Thomas Anderson’s unfortunately popular. ghost wire, which seems to contribute to the current gender confusion in our culture. Anderson’s plot reverses Hitchcock’s fear of heightsturning millennial audiences in on themselves because they swallow Anderson’s nihilism without Ozon’s bold humanism.

Armond White, cultural critic, writes about films for National exam and is the author of New post: The Prince’s Chronicles. His new book, Making Spielberg Even Better: The Chronicles of Steven Spielbergis available on Amazon.