In 2085, there is no more electricity on Earth, and the planet turns into a huge desert. The crops are no longer growing, and in the last 10 years not a single child has been born in the world. For the last survivors who still have the strength to listen, comes the mysterious “Call”: an invitation to meet in Athens. Joe, a 17-year-old of African descent, will be the last director or the last witness of the last person on earth. Through the desert roads of Europe, leading to Athens, Joe will bring with him a mysterious treasure: several reels with the inscription “Cineteca di Bologna”.
Cleric vagrants of the future
Young African Cal (newbie Kalifa Touray) addressing the camera directly tells us that he is the last person on Earth in 2086. This is how it starts in Last words a long flashback that, starting from the streets – or from what is left of them – of Paris, shows us the attempts of a young man to survive, plunging the viewer more and more into the convolutions of the power of Cinema: curiosity for the latter will be brought first to Bologna and then , in the company of an old former director who calls himself Shakespeare (Nick Nolte) and the only working movie camera in the world, in Athens, in the commune of survivors led by Dr. Zibersky (Stellan Skarsgard). Cal’s journey as told in the film Jonathan Nossiter Thus, it is a story of survival, but above all a kind of initiatory path to the knowledge of the Seventh Art.
Two sides of the same coin
The death of cinema and the end of humanity is not far off. Last words additional items. What makes life possible is presented from the very beginning: food and cinema. The first memorabilia encountered, such as a poster de Man with a movie camera Dzigi Vertov and references to the cinema library of Bologna, the latter being the real driving force behind the story, actually appear during the first (short) narrative arc in which a young man is the protagonist along with his sister in Paris: then Bologna, headquarters of the film library and hideout of the former a filmmaker and probably the last cinephile on Earth who convinces Cal to build a movie camera; finally, group screenings (we leave the pleasure of recognizing more or less well-known films shown to the viewer), when two itinerant artists settle in with a group of survivors in Athens. But what movie are we talking about? The end of humanity seems to read like a transition from cinema to streaming. In addition to this, cinema should also be understood as a physical act, given that screenings are powered by an exercise bike pedaled by Cal and Shakespeare. And this is where it becomes clear how Cinema brings not only joy, but also Life itself: after all, there is a Batlk in the Athens group (Charlotte Rampling, who is now confirmed to be pretty much destined to always fill the same roles) sexually approaches young Cal, miraculously remaining pregnant. But cinema is also understood as the memory of humanity, as evidenced by the footage taken by Kahl during his stay in the community of survivors in Athens.
Last words he would like to restore with his slow rhythm the depressing mood of loneliness and the melancholy resulting from it. He does this by using hand-held camera footage interspersed with still images of desert landscapes made of rubble and rubble. However, this is not a film that makes logic and an iron script its main strength: is it really possible to get to Bologna and immediately find Sineteka? Where does the sound of projected movies come from? Can everyone go from Monicelli to Sturges by understanding his work? Or is it a way to further highlight the power of cinema to overcome language barriers? First of all, it is difficult to get carried away with the stories of the various main characters, revealed in further flashbacks such as the story of Dima (Alba Rohrwacher), or just say. All elements that take the form of useless digressions that do not excite or evoke sympathy. Cal himself appears as the new Candide, who smiles at everything that happens, even when he is the protagonist of the forced connection.
Apocalyptic hymn to cinema
The apocalyptic key that holds it Last words this is perhaps the only really interesting aspect; in this sense we are dealing with an almost two-hour film, consisting mainly of film fragments and images of enthusiastic and cheerful faces in front of projections taking place on sheets hanging from the Parthenon (actually Paestum), but which, perhaps, functioned more like short ones; possibly as part of a collective operation such as Cinema Chakun Son (2007). Then there would be the theme of an ecological catastrophe, due to which Africa, for example, was flooded with water, but this remains only schematically in the background. Because, as they say in the movie, the essence of everything is that you live and die for the stories you tell, even if then comes the inevitability of death and a black screen. Let’s hope this is not the case in the future directions of Reality. Although with such films it is difficult to believe otherwise.
Original name: Last words
Director: Jonathan Nossiter
Country/year: France, Italy / 2020
Type: Drama, Science fiction
Throw: Stellan Skarsgård, Alba Rohrwacher, Charlotte Rampling, June Ichikawa, Nick Nolte, Silvia Calderoni, Vincenzo Del Prete, Abdoulaye Traore, Amir Hamza, Andreina Liotti, Cosimo Desia, Fiorenzo Madonna, Giovanni Trono, Haidara Cheik Bugadari, Kalifa Touray, Kane Moussa, Maryam d’Abo, Munim Akhtar, Seed-legged “Victory” Wilfred, Pradeep Gurung
Screenplay: Jonathan Nossiter, Santiago Amigorena
Photo: Clarissa Cappellani
Assembly: Davide La Porta, Jonathan Nossiter
Music: Tom Smale
Director: Donatella Palermo, Gian Luca Gargano, Serge Lalu, Jonathan Nossiter, Laurent Beaujart, Luke Hardy, Santiago Amigorena
Production house: Les Films du Rat, Rai Cinema, Sagax Entertainment, Paprika Films, Stemal Entertainment, Les Films d’Ici
Distribution: Cinematheque of Bologna
Release date: 06/15/2023
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