Is cinema being conceptualized? About Poor things, the latest film by Yorgos Lanthimos
February, 01; 2024. By Arscodex
In these current times, a curious artistic trend could be beginning in the world of cinema and, after the 20th century with its blockbusters and particular cinematographic themes, we have reached a point, the 21st century, in which cinema is caressing a certain "conceptualization."
Poor things movie still
Poor things movie still
And let me explain: the trend started by the first productions of the Pixar company, later absorbed by Disney, began that path of cinema, that new current, perhaps known as "conceptual cinema". But what is conceptual cinema? It is a cinematographic proposal, mainly in feature film format, in which one element, or several, of the "rules of the game" that make up the reality in which said film takes place, is/are altered. Often it is only one or two elements that are altered, as a totally different reality (with almost all or all elements distorted) is considered a dystopia.
So it is with the Pixar film Wall-e, from 2008, that could be the starting signal for this trend, which can place the action both in the future, as well as in the present, as well as in the past, provided that some of the elements of the reality in which the film takes place are altered, as we have already said. In the case of Wall-e it is about the future.
Well, right now we bring up the work of a current director, Yorgos Lanthimos, Greek himself, but very close to Hollywood, who offers us, very much in the manner of the ancient philosophy of his nation of origin, films with these characteristics that are have mentioned, that is, "conceptual", such as his latest creation, Poor things, from 2023, with multiple nominations for the Oscars, awards that will be aired next month.
It is an absolutely conceptualized film in which one of the elements of the reality in which the film takes place, as we have already said several times in this article, is altered. Otherwise, the film does not offer anything particularly new since the main theme is the "discovery of sexuality by women", which is a hackneyed and old theme. But removing this fact, the film could offer some cinematic success, with some luck.
In short, it is that the function of cinema, that medium that we like so much, mutates due to the order of events; and since in the 20th century all the Cleopatras and other historical films have been filmed, it is our time to push for conceptualization, which in our opinion is not something that is a bad thing, since conceptual cinema makes us think, and in these times, this fact is by no means trivial, since the laziness that pervades society as a whole prevents a large part of the population from even thinking a little. It is a phenomenon similar to what happened with painting after the appearance of photography: the painted portrait becomes obsolete so painting in general seeks new horizons.
We can mention, as a culmination, other conceptual films, for example those by Wes Anderson, another of the current directors, or those of the one who writes this article, with his animated film The man who never cried, which also champions this trend.
So we can welcome this cinematographic trend, that of conceptual cinema, which we hope will give us great joy both in the present and in the future.