Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MISUNDERSTOOD (2014) is the most audacious film at the New York Film Festival

on the move again
Saturday at noon the New York Film Festival really gets going with what is probably the festivals most audacious film, Asia Argento's Misunderstood. Say what you will about the film, whether you argue if its good or bad you have to agree it's a singular cinematic vision. Its a film that before the festival made me wonder why it was at the Festival and and afterward left me with the feeling this was probably the only film that really belonged there.

Based on the director's childhood where she was shuttled between her high maintenance parents (her father is horror director Dario Argento), the film follows young Aria as she is shuttled between her crazy parents. Her father is an award  winning actor who is a walking collection of superstitions, while her mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is a man crazy pianist. Neither of them can stand the other. Neither really has much love for their daughter, each preferring one of Aria's other sisters. We watch as friends come and go and her parents slowly go nuts.

Structured in a series of episodes the film resulted in several members of the press calling the film Girlhood. I had a similar comment in my notes but I added On acid. This is just a decent into one girls twisted life as she deals with everything in her life and finding solace in a black cat that she effectively stole off the street.

Its a portrait of a young girl that's full of sex drugs and rock and roll, ala 1983. Its frequently funny, occasionally heart rending and sometimes horrifying. It's the sort of thing  that makes you wonder how anyone could survive- and yet Asia Argento did.

I have no idea what to say and I have no idea what I think.

I love the pieces but I'm not sure what I think of the whole other than it's a unique vision. I don't think the audience at the press screening knew what to make of it. When the film ended the audience was dead silent except for the sound of many grabbing their things and leaving. During the screening laughter was sporadic (its frequently funny) but after a while even that trailed off. I don't know if it was because they hated the film or because it just ceased being funny... (reaction  after the screening was all over the map and ran the gamut from loved it to hated it)

After the film I had a long discussion with Hubert. It was enlightening. Since he's going to write up his thoughts I won't say  what he has to say, though I will agree with him in that the film is at least 30 minutes too long.

Should you see it?

If you want to see the least safe most ballsy film at this years New York Film Festival you do. Its a film unlike anything else and love it or hate it we are better for it. Why can't all the films at NYFF let you know you've  seen something truly special?
Its your birthday so party like the big people

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