The critic who burns the blackboard facing the camera on Mubi

inside, at night

From the opening credits, the feeling of confinement is strong. We may find ourselves outside, in the courtyard of a building, but the distant view of the sky and the darkness around it are already a dead end. Then we enter the main set of the film, a dilapidated duplex in the heart of New York. Blake’s family is preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving there, but father Eric (Richard Jenkins) wonders why his youngest daughter Brigid (Penny Feldstein) and her husband Richard (Stephen Yeon) chose to move here.

Places he hardly ever discovers, like his wife Deirdre (Jane Hodeshell), eldest daughter Amy (Amy Schumer) and his mother Momo (John Squibb), don’t inspire him with much confidence. Between the muffled sounds coming from the apartment above, the strange mold lining the ceiling and walls, and that silhouette glimpsed briefly through the window, one thing is certain: paranoia is on the march, and I see no hint of it. Political party.

Humans: Photo, Richard Jenkins, Benny Feldstein, Amy SchumerHere’s a successful family photo… or not

whether Humans She bears the scars of her theatrical origins, with her long steady shots and exhausting dialogues, Karam is still finding the resources to deceive his audience and gradually lead them to a more sensual dimension.. Just look at these almost naked shots where Eric uses a bottle of beer as a distorted prism, or when Deirdre’s reflection appears to us fragmented by a broken mirror.

In these moments, the director frustrates the stalemate of his story. Retaining its raw visual rules to the end, based on symmetrical frames and an exciting editing rhythm, the film immediately allows itself with intriguing digressions, like this musical sequence, as the family listens to a piece by Bridget. Then I put the strings of strings parallel to the Blakes and the decor, as if it was above all a matter of listening to the place, and imbibing with it.

It also shouldn’t outshine the light to turn a duplexer into an intimidating trough. As night approaches the earth, darkness spreads inward, gradually engulfing the shapes to the point where they repeatedly disappear. The final third of the film, which plunges the family and especially Eric into total darkness, is emblematic of the organic reconfiguration of space, hence the split in horror alone worth a detour.s. And we’re not talking about cheap Blumhouse-type excitement, but deep anxiety.

Humans: The Picture, Richard Jenkins, Stephen YunWith a wet finger, I say the worst is yet to come

family madness

Don’t you think the cost of survival is lower?Eric laughs, over a harmless conversation with Richard. If the response refers above all to the financial hardships faced by the family, and more broadly by the American middle class, still affected by the economic crisis of 2008, it also refers to the human cost, to the frustrations fueled by existence. No doubt you got that, but on the ground, the Blakes are champions in all categories.

During an interview with the site Broadworld In 2015, Karam said that the personal development book was inspired by his play, Think and get richWritten by Napoleon Hill. A particular passage mentions six primary fears: poverty, criticism, illness, loss of a loved one, old age, and death. “I used all of his fears to describe my characters one by one. Kind of like a detective mystery. It is not difficult to guess who is associated with this or that fear“, stated.

Humans: The Picture, Richard JenkinsIn Blakes, we drink from the heart and drown in our misfortunes

Again, if we can regret some of the tunnels of dialogue, it highlights the useless talk of the family, which supposedly hides the real problem. The more they talk, the more they silence their true fears. Before they can get to the facts, Eric and Richard choose to narrate their dreams, the first of an unidentified woman and the second of falling into an ice cream cone covered in grass. And there is advice: Freud, help us understand! Of course, once the secrets are revealed, the meaning of these visions becomes clear.

Momo’s character, Eric’s mother, symbolizes this fateful deadline. When the plot unfolds, and despite his advanced aging state, his body ends up expressing everything that the family has suppressed for years. Her latest bout of dementia, which drives her to declare insane at the top of her voice, sounds like an enforcer. It’s also interesting to note that the only time she gets her spirits back is when they all gather at the table and recite the blessing. In other words, the madness no longer exists when the Blakes agree to rise above their petty annoyances.

Humans: The Picture, Richard JenkinsBeware, discord is never strength

Somehow they are the product of a sick world itself. The 9/11 attacks played an intimate role in the future of characters reminding us how much society and thus the outward appearance of what we experience at home, in private, define. The choice of camera is then very appropriate, as the Blix family eventually seeks to hide from the rest of the world, adopting the same security logic that the US government used in its policy against terrorism. But the movie’s final shot also teaches us something else: staying sane requires finding a way out.

The Humans has been available on Mubi since August 12, 2022 in France

Humans: photo


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