Perhaps they are allocating their investments and energies to the platforms, the fact is that the big Californian studios are playing it safe with sequels and variations of pieces from years ago or guaranteed products, mainly superhero fantasies. Although a couple of Spanish titles have slipped in (in turn, new installments of a commercial formula: Father there is only one 3 y Tadeo Jones 3. The emerald jungle), the twenty top-grossing films of 2022 are American and their titles (Avatar, Minions, The Batman, Jurassic World: Dominion, Thor: Love and Thunder, Top Gun: Maverick”, Spider Man: No Way Home, Sonic 2, etc.) reveal that commitment to repetition and adolescent action and fantasy cinema that drives many adults out of theaters. And, of course, it denies “film diversity” as one of the basic values for the cultural condition of the cinematographic fact. The premiere last week of Babylonby Damien Chazelle, reveals the strategy of the big studios to create artificial hits not without an innovative will, but with the manifest intention of homogenizing audiences by equalizing them downwards. The diversity of viewers and preferences for gender or styles, themes or settings, realistic moods or fabrications, are laminated in a hybrid product that tries to respond to everything and please everyone.
In Babylon the excesses of drugs and sex of the 1920s are recreated, there is a history of the American crisis of the following decade, much evocation of the transition from silent to talkies, cursory criticism of Hollywood moguls, notes on the racism of the time, fantasies from the forbidden underground, “broken toys” from show business, dissent from talented filmmakers, manipulations from the tabloid press… and, of course, a love story. The viewer gets “strong emotions” with scenes of explicit sex (the orgy at the beginning), dangerous action (fight with the snake) or literally disgusting (vomiting at the party, eating rat).; That same viewer is gratified in his tenderness with the love story, in his ears with the jazz pieces of the (not sufficiently) black musician, and in his moral soul with the brushstrokes of social criticism. The completed three hours of the film seek to leave us literally KO: that there is nothing left to tell or say, that nothing is missed. It is already known that Chazelle works by excess: all the sequences last thirty or forty percent more than the necessary time, they are given the touch of a video clip and they all push their narration to the limits of hyperbole, parody or transgression that delight the infantilized public.
The problem of the overrated author of La la land: the city of stars in this installment that, apparently, has played at the box office (it has raised 15 million dollars for a budget of eighty) is his unlimited cinephile egomania. Why, Actually, it is not known what film he wanted to make, although his fascination for that time of the late 20s and for its recreation in the admirable musical is evident. Singing under the rain. It will not be unreasonable to think that Chazelle has now sought to make his own version of that musical, in the same way that in the previous title he paid homage to the brilliant pieces of the 50’s Metro. This is discovered in the (dispensable) epilogue set in 1952 in which Manny Torres goes to a session and cries his eyes out: to get to that point there was no need for so much stridency in the soundtrack and editing, nor a broken speech and a narrative with more fringe than fabric. But throughout the footage it was already mentioned Singing under the rain in the musical theme of the title, in the love dialogue of the period film, on the sets of silent shootings and on other occasions.
Babylon It may be a sign of a trend. Beyond this film, I invite the reader to think about a style, a business strategy, and a target audience that brings occasional mass audiences to movie theaters.which in the long term leads to the empowerment of platforms, the commitment of multiplexes to this type of film and the reduction of cinema with minimal cultural and artistic ambition to marginal theaters only in large cities.
Babylon (Damien Chazelle, 2022) ⭐️⭐️