High Life – What Does It Want To Say?

When it was announced that Claire Denis was going to make an English language film with Robert Pattinson, I was really excited. Having seen the director’s previous work such as 35 Shots Of Rum, I was curious as to what she was going to with a film set in outer space. High Life certainly does not disappoint as it is one film that raises more questions than it gives answers. Personally I like this as I feel that too many movies try giving answers when they perhaps don’t have to.

The way I see it, the film is trying to talk about our base needs and how they don’t change even in the future or when we are hurtling through the galaxy. Sex is what powers human beings and that’s what is happening here as well. The people on the spaceship are there because Juliette Binoche’s character wants to create life. They are merely guinea pigs in an experiment that she makes work with dubious measures. There is a lot to unpack on a ethical and philosophical level. But the film wisely steers clear from that and focuses on the people who are the crux of the ship.

Brody-High-Life

The heart of the film is the relationship between Robert Pattinson’s Monte and his daughter. If there is one part that could have been explored a little more, it would be how the two survived on the ship until the daughter becomes a teenager. Denis decides to present the story in a non-linear manner and the effect is quite disorienting like traveling through space. We keep cutting between the past and present so often that it becomes merged and feels the same. Perhaps this is a comment on the way time works when you leave Earth.

As far as performances are concerned, it is Robert Pattinson who holds the ship down with great aplomb. His intensity slowly evolves into a state of resigned helplessness and the growing weariness on his face is a joy to watch. He keeps adding to his already impressive filmography. I would definitely recommend this film as it raises some interesting points that we don’t normally see in films from this genre. High Life is further proof of the editing mastery that is present in Claire Denis films and if nothing else, it is worth watching for its technical qualities alone.

Until next time, bye.

Fear Of Fitting In

Among the many movie genres, the teen movie has been in my opinion, one of the more divisive types out there. A lot of these films are not very realistic or at least, they don’t feel that way. This is where Eighth Grade is different. Instead of showing us the dark side like some films choose as a form of realism, what we see here is just how awkward life is at that stage of life. The script by debutante director Bo Burnham and the flawless performance by Elsie Fisher, ensure that the film is relatable all along. The 8th grade in particular van be very challenging as it represents a transition in our lives. You are on the fast track to your teenage years and the various challenges that come with it. It can be difficult to deal with all this and technology has added to that. Ultimately, it all comes down to our need to fit in and the film explores that emotion beautifully.

8grade

This face in the picture above, is the one that defines the film. We see Kayla on her YouTube channel and she seems a different person but in the outside world, she’s shy, awkward and just wants to, (you guessed it) fit in. This is an emotion that is not just felt during your younger years, it can be felt no matter how old you are. The grass always feels greener on the other side. It looks like those people are having more fun than you. It feels like those people have more interesting lives than you. Honestly, that can be true or false but it is hard to be objective about that. For this, I would like to reply with a quote from an Indian film. It goes like this:

In life, there will always be something better than what we have, but there is no use in changing ourselves to get the other thing.”

Until next time, bye.