The magic realism of the first film by Denis Villeneuve: Un 32 Août sur Terre

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For a moment-concedetemelo-high-budget movies aside Canadian Director’s most talked-about of the moment, Denis Villeneuve. Let us leave aside Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, hit man. Let’s go back in time, we leave the 21st century, and catapultiamoci in 1998, year of release of the feature film debut of Villeneuve: A 32 Août sur Terre.

Un 32 août sur terre

A film unknown to most people, almost impossible to find-especially in Italy where not even been located-which was presented at the 51st Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard category and received a strong positive rating and granted to the Director an excellent showcase in which to show off.

A 32 août sur terre is a strange movie, simple and complex at the same time. Not a work of easy to understand but not overwhelming difficulties of interpretation. From the title we can Intuit the dreamlike character-fantastic film script: a thirty-two of August on Earth. Almost looks like a science fiction movie, right? Well, it doesn’t. Is realism; magic realism.

The story summarized is concise: car accident that opens the film, the quirky woman involved who survives miraculously, Simone, totally changes the perception of living life-decide it’s time to make an impact on total-it’s time to have a child and give up everything that surrounds it: work, travel, pleasure. The chosen one who must give their lives? His best friend, hesitant in accepting and even more afraid to flee. The place where conceive instead? The desert near the Great Salt Lake in Salt Lake City, in the United States. Want to know if they succeed? I don’t want to spoil the surprise.


“But you don’t love me like I love you and if I make love to you … I’m screwed. It’s not nice to say but that’s why we boycott everything and me give to legs, is pure self-defense, everything falls apart, it’s the end of an era, I love you. “

Reading above history has twisted implications, as it happens, however, that Villeneuve is a skilled croupier in the movie game: shuffle the cards on the table all the time. All this his skill is given by several factors-joining-create a product of exquisite workmanship: his directing skills and the camera movements–hectic when you have to put forward to the spectator, slow and evocative when the tale becomes a soft-spoken and placid-compulsive-the close close up big long shots, eye-candy. The strong element of the unexpected and the plot in the script which-as far as I could be granted excessive use of both of these two factors-is actually the trump card of the film, giving the work the peculiarity of a play gently sought that fuses the basics with elements on the boundary of the fable. On the other hand-as guessed from the title-daily Division of the months is not the real one: does not exist in the movie the 31 days limit, 32, 34 to 33, and so on. Villeneuve cancels the time just like the protagonist cancels his life to try to conceive a child: what does the son and because it binds to the notion of time? The main answer is that incotrollabile want to leave to posterity a projection of itself over time, canceling out the same time expands and proceeds without the viewer-used to reality-get a real realistic perception, so that do dip into some sort of dreamlike vision of reality film.

Nouvelle-Nouvelle Vague, so I would call the kind of film, a tribute to the great French directors, Truffaut and in particular: it is no coincidence that several of the shots remind us of one of the most beautiful movies (and discussed) of French filmmaker: Jules et Jim.


Villeneuve takes a little here and there, he puts his, stir everything and gives us a comedy sought that-despite budget constraints and a cast without the level names as those which are used now-not a chance to define a 32 août sur terre his lung ometraggio more poetic and personal-with due respect to those who know only his films from Prisoners.

Denis Villeneuve’s films are on Amazon

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