THE ETERNAL LINK BETWEEN CINEMA AND DEATH.
According to theoretical filmmaker André Bazin, the cinema has the ability to defeat death. This claim that may seem risky is actually intrinsic in the seventh art since its inception. The ability of the cinema media to impress the memry, to make the figures projected immortal thanks to it, has made cinema the long-lived in the figurative arts of contemporary times. Many directors and films have treated also as a goal of a characteristic path of the human being.
THE SEVENTH SEAL , INGMAR BERGMAN, 1957
The Swedish director’s film is the apotheosis of the theme of death. More than the theme of passing, this film puts us in the face of a bigger question; the relationship between man and the omnipotent, in front of the weakness of life, through a path leading the protagonist to confront the fear and despair of men in front of death, a fear which is also synonymous with the lack of faith. The rider, assailed by the doubt of faith, who plays chess with death, is constantly being tested by transfiguring it in the human body with questions such as “Do not you think it would be better to die?”. Bergman in his career have always faced such arguments by creating around him a mystery and cult area.
DONNIE DARKO, RICHARD KELLY, 2001
The cult state enjoyed by Donnie Darko is due to the fact that many young people have become recognized in the main character: Donnie. 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds is the time the mysterious rabbit has anticipated as the end of the world. The world, however, will eventually be discovered in the end, it is not the death of the planet, but the very end of what man think is important, Donnie is represented by Gretchen (his beloved one and the only able to understand it all). Death in this case is the metaphor for telling the lack of what we adore the most, something that is also the end of our inner world.
TEOREMA, PIER PAOLO PASOLINI, 1968
The Bolognese teacher has always looked for a realistic answer to life after death. In this film he takes the studies of anthropologist De Martino on the loss of “presence”. The crisis of presence, the loss of it by man, causes an Italian anthropologist (subsequently for Pasolini) an inner death that can only be faced by faith. Theorem investigates the vicissitudes of a family of the new Italian bourgeoisie, where conformism and, above all consumerism have led to the loss of agricultural values and thus to the death of traditions.
MYSTIC RIVER, CLINT EASTWOOD, 2003
Also an icon of Western cinema like Clint Eastwood used to dancing between life and death who wanted to treat this issue. The film presented at Cannes56 is an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel “The Death Do not Forget”. The American director draws on the complexity of human reaction and shows how responsibility for one’s actions is essential to the lives of each of us. The film has the ability to show us the banality of evil and death through a direction full of symbolism and quotations.
PSYCHO, ALFRED HITCHCOCK, 1960
Since always (until the 60’s) classic cinema has been attached to the concept of star system, the protagonists of American films have always been linked to a linear plot with resolution resulting in a net effect without any shades. British director Alfred Hitchcock in 1960 wanted to change course by replacing suspense with surprise. The death of the pseudo-protagonist Marion (Jenet Leight) in the famous shower scene, which has left legacy, provides a clear censorship between classical and modern cinema. A death to change the fate of cinema, a death to underline a dynamic of change that will later lead us to regard cinema as we see it today.
THOU SHALT NOT KILL (DEKALOG 5), KIESLOWSKI, 1988
As we said in the introductory paragraph, cinema would have the ability to defeat the passing of time and therefore death. But can a movie become a promoter of a political battle that concerns death itself? Polish director Kieslowski directed a film entitled “Thou shalt not Kill (Dekalog 5)” in the late 80’s, which tells the story of a totally devoid of moral sense that will end up being condemned to death. The film aroused a few debates within the state. The filmmaker thanks to this masterpiece managed to raise awareness of the Polish parliament regarding the death sentence, leading the government to its abolition. This is the proof that cinema is not just mere entertainment, but a way to change the world and the people who live there.