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
Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Captcha Image

My Latest Posts

Joker
October 05, 2019

Joker

October 05, 2019

Joker

Joker The trailer did its work, flashing images of anomie and fury perfectly pitched for these unstable times of precarious working conditions, grievance and institutional indifference. For these same reasons, Joker , directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the protagonist, has attracted pre-release criticisms like few other recen...
September 29, 2019

Resisting Whiteness event 2019

Resisting Whiteness one-day event, Edinburgh Returning for the second consecutive year, Resisting Whiteness came yesterday to the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh, providing an intense and inspiring series of panels, as well as a wonderful spoken word section, and a final segment based around the documentary short Invisible by internationally-acclaim...
August 21, 2019

Hearty by Emma Frankland

Hearty by Emma Frankland Raw and dripping with punk aesthetic, this one-woman-show's one-woman emerges in ripped tights and a T-shirt that paraphrases loudly the words of anti-trans theorist Germaine Greer: Lop Your Dick Off. My first impression of Emma Frankland is edgily uncertain and in awe, her Lady-Gaga-looks combined with Heath Ledger's mesme...
August 21, 2019

Pronoun, Pass, & Amnesty International

Transgender drama: Pronoun To be clear at the outset, this was the production of a youth theatre group, not a highly resourced team of experienced, professional career actors – although some of the performances left a powerful impression, and the show as a whole achieved some remarkable moments. Pronoun , written by Evan Placey, follows the transit...
August 13, 2019

Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem

Transgender Dance: Sound Cistem It starts with a heartbeat, the dancer-directors Lizzie and Ayden in slow-motion entry, setting the scene of a nightclub featuring two young transgender bodies who are in fact multiple. Sound Cistem is theatrical dance set to a series of pulsing, dance-floor rhythms and the voices of several trans interviewees projec...
August 04, 2019

Drone by Harry Josephine Giles

Drone by Harry Josephine Giles The blurring of human and machine reiterates here in a comedically surreal, startling performance by the performance poet Harry Josephine Giles. Drawing on visual and aural effects, Giles presents the disturbingly evocative middle-class arc of the life of an electronic, military drone. With Giles as both narrator and ...
August 03, 2019

Burgerz by Travis Alabanza

Burgerz by Travis Alabanza Playing currently at the Traverse Theatre is Travis Alabanza's poignant and comic one-person show, a thought-provoking meditation created out of a jarring personal experience. Back in 2016, Alabanza, a non-binary person of colour, was abused in a London street, with a burger thrown at them by a stranger. The show's series...
August 03, 2019

While transphobes get more hateful, I become more freckly

While transphobes got more hateful, I became more freckly Written weeks after the conference Transgender: Intersectional/International There's nothing good to say, even the films I enjoyed watching this past week, Midsommar and Apollo 11 , I've lost the Sunday will to write. Perhaps Brexit Britain will become like the village cult in Midsommar , bu...
June 09, 2019

Dark Phoenix, John Wick 3, Godzilla: my reflections

Three fantasy movies within three days: X Men: Dark Phoenix; John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Godzilla: King of the Monsters The Lacanian feminist Kaja Silverman says about cinema, we go because we need the affirmation, to see the things we hope to see and fail to see in the real world. In Lacanian-speak, Silverman says we go because 'the desire ...