Screen/Society--"Pacifiction" (Albert Serra, 2022)
(Albert Serra, 2022, 162 min, France/Spain/Germany/Portugal, French with English subtitles, DCP)
Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra reconfirms his centrality in the contemporary cinematic landscape with this mesmerizing portrait of a French bureaucrat drifting through a fateful trip to a French Polynesian island with increasing anxiety. "Pacifiction" charts the various uneasy relationships that develop between Magimel's autocratic yet avuncular High Commissioner, De Roller, and the Indigenous locals who operate essentially under his faux-benevolent thumb, many of whom we meet at a resort that caters to the prurient exoticism of foreign tourists. Serra's gripping, atmospheric thriller is a slow-building fever dream that lulls before catching us by surprise with the depths of its darkness, a film that allows its incisive social commentary about the remnants of colonialism to surface through quiet observation and aesthetic audacity. Cahiers du cinéma's choice for best film of 2022!
"'Pacifiction' has the rhythm and flavor of a tropical reverie, and the source of his arresting power derives from its ability to weave thriller stylings with disquieting detours into the uncanny, footage that seems plucked out of a dream." - MUBI
"'Pacifiction' does not look like any other film. It doesn't taste or smell like other films, either, even Serra's own distinctive body of work ... a film unlike any other this year ... Serra is an incredible filmmaker and this is his most wildly expressive project yet." - The Film Stage
"The atmosphere is chokingly sensual, the geopolitical implications are operatic, and the filmmaking is at once puckish and grand ... A gorgeous and grave anti-epic." - The Playlist
View trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFHA5bwrW3w
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