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Anomalisa

[…] This failure of immersion happens to be an intrinsic advantage of theatrical representation. The exhibited fictional existence of the puppets means something as such: it expresses the fake character of our being in the world, of our relationships.

[…] What seems, in the beginning, to be a frustrating opacity becomes the potential of a therapeutic journey into the simple beauty of the anomaly.

A lot has been said and written about this film, which has been almost unanimously praised by critics. One could underline the passionate apology of each person’s uniqueness, the exceptional quality of the image, or the criticism against our bureaucratic and standardized societies. The interesting aspect of Anomalisa, for me, comes from its two main lacks.

Firstly: it is incredibly difficult to get accustomed to the puppet faces. We “enter” the film exclusively thanks to the realism of the background images and the extraordinary studio work in the sound-effects and voices. Anomalisa could very well have been adapted as a radio play… Even if the main characters’ puppets are designed to be expressive, their movements remain slow and clumsy. It is as if someone is continuously reminding us that the characters are simply animated puppets. This failure of immersion happens to be an intrinsic advantage of theatrical representation. The exhibited fictional existence of the puppets means something as such: it expresses the fake character of our being in the world, of our relationships. Here, the film finds its existential, almost metaphysical turn, which is reinforced by its unhappy end.

Secondly: the tempo of the story is excessively slow. We feel the strain of getting through each step of the story; during the film we spend a lot of time waiting for what comes next. These empty spaces are often filled with banal events, insignificant happenings, and pointless chatter. In a “normal” movie, the entire story could be shortened to no more than ten minutes, but the effect of time expansion serves the important function of helping us lose ourselves in the crisis of our hero. The lovely attention to detail opens up an entire world to us. We discover the poeticism of things, moments, situations, all which work like an exercise to learn the preciousness of Anomalia: the exceptional, the different, the unclassified. What seems, in the beginning, to be a frustrating opacity becomes the potential of a therapeutic journey into the simple beauty of the anomaly. A beauty which, as the outcome of the story teaches us, is temporary and fragile.

Text: Giuseppe Di Salvatore

First published: May 02, 2016

Anomalisa | Film | Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson | USA 2015 | 90’

More Info

http://www.anomalisamovie.com/

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