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Old 06-12-2022, 12:36 PM
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TrueFaith77 TrueFaith77 is offline
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36.Lost Illusions (Xavier Giannoli); grade A

At 2.5 hours, Lost Illusions adapts the 1840s serial novel by Balzac at breakneck speed. Director Giannoli's visual imagination illustrates dense narration to simultaneously detail a young writer's rise and comeuppance in post-Revolutionary Paris (a portrait of Napoleon appears in an antique store window). It juxtaposes the return of the aristocratic classes--to which the writer believes he belongs--and the era's corrupt upstart media--through which the writer plots his climb and revenge. The plot hurtles toward an unholy collusion between these forces to destroy the benighted young writer by exacting a cruel proxy vengeance. The modern parallels to today's media elite and the climbers of internet alternative media prove bracing and, ultimately, devastating. As Armond White points out, Balzac seemingly invented the term "fake news"--and deconstructed how it works through this story (as a promising rural poet, Lucien de Rubempré works in a printing press). What energizes this adaptation is the casting of actors whose modern gay portraitures have always rubbed me the wrong way--Benjamin Voisin (Ozon's Summer of 85), Vincente Lacoste (Honore's Sorry Angel), and Xavier Dolan (his own I Killed My Mother). In period garb, each of them physically embodies a Mythic type--naïveté, cynicism, and ambition, respectively--as immediately recognizable as the era's caricatures illustrating newspapers with names like Le Satan. The actors' gay-cinema resonance in heterosexual roles here creates a shorthand for shared sympathy and envy. In this way, the film awakens political consciousness in the audience by activating the political significance of its actors. So, their exploitable humanity matches that of the film's sacrificial lamb, an innocent who she dares to expose her vulnerability in the public sphere.
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Last edited by TrueFaith77; 06-12-2022 at 12:39 PM..
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