Aftersun: Paul Mescal is terrific in Charlotte Wells’ shocking debut

The two most beautiful films of February, after the sun by Charlotte Wells and The Fablemen e Steven Spielberg, each in their own way explores the mysteries of adulthood seen through the eyes of a child. On the one hand, an 11-year-old girl who is going on vacation to Turkey with her father; on the other hand, a teenager, an undisguised double of the director himself, who falls in love with cinema and the tools available, makes small films with friends who have ambitions of big Hollywood productions. In the two feature films, there is an atmosphere of carelessness and randomness, characteristic of this period of childhood when identity is affirmed through the many experiences that every person lives.

But very soon the euphoria subsides and the end of innocence sounds. The images, captured by the two young heroes, aim less to immortalize a moment filled with magic and vitality, during which children and parents would be more united than ever, than to reveal what posterity until then did not discover with his eyes. . The camera goes beyond its status as a tool to become a power with sometimes dramatic consequences. IN The Fablemen, the seventh art arrives in Sammy Fabelman’s life in an explosion of dizzying violence, which he will never stop reproducing, with his toys and an amateur camera, as if to remove the original trauma of the fiction. A few years later, around a key scene, the outcome of which will be kept silent, it is the same medium that will reveal untold family secrets and create new wounds.

In his house after the sun, the unspoken are ubiquitous. And where Spielberg’s film tries to shed light on them to better bring peace to a painful past, Charlotte Wells collects fragments of life and frontal ellipses that will have something to disturb the viewer. Where is the film taking us? What key to understanding should we look for at the bottom of these images? We feel that these parties have a special, almost fatal tenor. after the sun it certainly evokes the complexities of a relationship between a father who can be guessed as absent, unhappy, angry with himself and his daughter who is slowly progressing towards adolescence (first friendships, first emotions and first rebellions).

© Sarah Makharine

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