Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

The Square

The_Square_2017_film_poster-2

The Square

The trailer made this film fascinating; the two and a half hour cinema experience was a different, restless kettle of fish. The Square is an interesting if overly-long exploration of the managed edginess of a Copenhagen museum exhibition, and how its control – specifically the curator's control – pales to the weird fucked-upness of day to day life.

Interesting ideas emerge fragmented throughout this movie. At the outset, the handsome, upper-middle-class curator gets sucked into a street scene of a girl on the run from a psycho – soon after he realizes its set-up nature, his wallet and phone now missing. Already, this glamorous puppet master has been manipulated. Further experiences, some related to the theft, similarly expose the illusion of his cool and yes, sexy, authority until eventually his world of comfort begins to fall apart.

The most disturbing moment of the film – my favourite scene but my friend's least enjoyed part – involves a performance artist, entering a lavish, gilded dinner on the museum's opening night, as a threatening simian. The guests are soon reduced to uncomfortable fear, staring at their plates to avoid his attention. The artist's performance of human gorilla intensifies as he bullies and humiliates a noted artist; his attention then fixes on a fearful female diner. Soon he has her by the hair, dragging her to the floor, and it seems he intends to rape her. One male guest finally intervenes, and then another; the whole dining room erupts as the previously cowed, tuxedoed men perform a lynching. The scene may divide audiences, and one suspects it is meant to. It's the kind of film where the reactions of those around you in the audience become as curious to observe as the action on the screen.

This film could have been tighter, shorter. But this might be missing the point: its aim appears to be the limits of control, and the limits of a refined presentation of edginess. The exhibition at the heart of this film, called The Square to signify a space of shared responsibility and safety, in truth symbolizes the chaos of real life and unintended consequences. How true edginess lies not within the Armani and Gucci filled corridors of modern art and its exclusive clientele, but on its margins, and even here, always capable of intruding the safety of the exclusive square of these exclusive people.

In my introduction of this review, I complain about the length of this film, but I'm also aware of how it deliberately affected me. The cinema audience, watching the discomfort of the great and good, are similarly discomfited by some shocking scenes that threaten to cross the boundaries of taste and acceptability, as well as the time-bound convention of cinema.

As such, I recommend this movie for what I think it sets out to achieve, challenging consumers of art whether in the cinema or a gallery exhibition, to highlight the manipulated artificiality of the formalized artistic experience.
A Fantastic Woman
Lady Bird
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Friday, 21 September 2018

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

BlacKkKlansman
September 16, 2018

BlacKkKlansman

September 16, 2018

BlacKkKlansman

  BlacKkKlansman In an age of the absence of subtlety, BlacKkKlansman is arguably the perfect movie to tackle the issue of racism in America. It presents a black-and-white world of good versus evil, of racism and its opposite, in a clear-cut binary relationship. The cops – with one clear exception – are reasonable, anti-racist people, while th...
The Other Slavery
September 09, 2018

The Other Slavery

in Books

September 09, 2018

The Other Slavery

in Books

The Other Slavery by Andres Resendez My first feelings about the Native or First Nation Americans come in waves of visualizations. The names different tribes gave to the months: Geese Flying Moon; Strawberry Moon. They conjure up colours and movements come alive upon infinite midnight plains. The cruelty of European settlers intervenes. My reading ...
Fragments
September 02, 2018

Fragments

September 02, 2018

Fragments

  Fragments Yesterday evening I completed my move across town from one apartment to another. The experience was, and continues to be, disorientating. I guess everyone needs a place to call home. I start from scratch, again. I woke up from an anxiety nightmare early this morning. Soon after, was lying on the floor doing stre...
August 31, 2018

Forbidden Androgynies

Forbidden Androgynies Growing up in the 1980s, I remember particular cartoons that seemed indispensable and which even today seem impressively cool in their inventiveness. In no particular order, these include the disturbingly Satanic Thundercats with female icon Cheetara , as well as the more gently uplifting Dungeons and Dragons – with the wonder...
August 24, 2018

Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble

in Books

  Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble Should the Internet be regulated? It's a question I've never thought about, until recently, and the reading of this book. Here is my review of a book about a topic I can barely talk about without looking like those aged politicians trying to grill Mark Zucker...
August 23, 2018

Sod's Law (Edinburgh Festival)

Sod's Law (Edinburgh Festival) A posh young aristo, singing lectures about fisting and 'man twats,' Sod's Law is a rather wonderful exploration of the history of homosexuality from the time of Henry VIII to the 21 st century. From the court of the English Tudor monarch through Molly Houses and Oscar Wilde, we get observations on various legislation...
August 22, 2018

Trans Pennine

Trans Pennine (Edinburgh Festival) A gentle, generally light, small-scale drama, Trans Pennine explores family life after the death of the wife/mother, and a suppressed secret that finally comes out. Of the three-person cast, an embittered husband/father is required to confront a past he'd rather not remember, with the aid of his grown-up son and d...
August 20, 2018

Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores

Gruff Rhys: Resist Phony Encores Haunting, disarming, his voice trembling then strong and soothing. Gruff Rhys played and talked for an hour, songs sometimes in Welsh, sometimes English, occasionally mixing recorded sounds, adding voice over voice or gentle squeaking bird calls from a tiny machine. This performance was a rare and intimate plea...
August 19, 2018

Pussy Riot + The Estrons (Edinburgh Festival)

Pussy Riot + The Estrons (Edinburgh Festival) You say 'punk,' I think of skinny men with psycho eyes, about to launch themselves at you with Doc Marten feet and broken beer bottles. Punk as frustrated patriarchy, turned in on itself, lashing out at anyone who comes near. I'm so glad, then, that I went to watch the mesmerizing Pussy Riot last n...