Experimentation, exploration, the desire to discover worlds, continents, as well as the body in which a person lives and which is still too often unknown. Baroque and futurist at the same time, costumes and scenery on the verge of modern and ancient. Poor things What would sound like in Italian Poor creatures! from January 25 in the cinema – this is a film adaptation of the novel of the same name by the Scottish writer Alasdair Gray, published in 1992, the story of a surreal world in which the line between the monstrous and the wonderful is very, very blurred.
Dr. Godwin Baxter, played by Willem Dafoe, who no doubt refers to himself as “God”, literally “God,” is the revolutionary Frankenstein, in turn the son of a mad doctor who experimented on him with all sorts of cruelties “in the name of progress and science.” It is he who brings Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) back to life from the afterlife after her suicide, thereby making her his creation, his experiment, as he calls it. The name she bears is by no means accidental, as the young woman seduces everyone she meets along the way, and this, despite her injury, the “gorgeous moron” will define her as one of the characters. She has movements halfway between robotic and childish, and lacks coordination, but she learns little by little, and does so, especially at the beginning, like a spoiled child, betraying the morality and social logic of being in the world. even reacts very violently when she is instead forbidden to do what she likes. Dr. Baxter tried to build a Victorian mansion for her, as safe as possible for such a fragile person, but, since she herself understands that, although gold, it is still a cage.
So, Bella, whose hair grows rapidly, at a rate of two and a half centimeters a day, who manages to learn fifteen new words every twenty-four hours, at a certain point, if she cannot explore the outside world, she is content with that moment to explore the inside of your body and thus discover, above all, pleasure. She discovers this for herself, accidentally touching vegetables one morning at breakfast, and she likes it, a childish and frank pleasure, which, however, she cannot understand why she cannot study there, when and with whom she wants. They tell her that society is “like that” and that some things are “wrong”. This is the center of gravity around which this story of the liberation of the female figure revolves, a story in which sexuality, sex – understood as power, domination, blackmail, conventions, gender roles, repeated over the centuries by repressive formations and rules, deny women above all their bodies and freedom to dispose of it – instead it becomes an instrument of rebellion. There CuteHowever, reborn literally has a virgin brain and does not know all this. She enjoys sex with her lover, a womanizing lawyer (Mark Ruffalo), with whom she leaves her father’s house and the fiancé he chose for her to discover the world: Lisbon, Athens, Alexandria in Egypt. Yet outside of God’s golden fence in his own way – a kind of Garden of Eden – he discovers that there is violence, misfortune, poverty.
A lover who boasts of his sexual abilities – “modestly better” – yet is immediately put into a quandary by Bella’s out-of-control spirit, who disappears, speaks rudely, returns when she pleases, placidly informs him that she has been with others , but knows no jealousy, no possessiveness, no exclusivity, and she likes to “jump with him”, which is how she defines sleeping with someone without fussing about the rest. And now the man gets bored, sticks together, complains, makes scenes, he also tries to lock her up, even if on a luxurious ship. She withdraws, takes refuge in books, in conversations with the wise Martha (Hanna Shigulla), who confesses to her that she has not had sex for twenty years, which upsets her. And despite the “lessons” of cynicism learned from a friend of a young woman, Bella continues to think that she can change the world. In Paris, under the snow – while her lover has gone mad – she begins prostitution under the guidance of a Parisian matron: the brothel is hospitable, the men are boring, but the friend with whom she shares this space and this work lets her know her own body and memory that it carries with it. Much happens before Bella returns home and creates her own world: Barbieland, full of beautiful imperfections.
Poor things it is a kind of rebellion against the imagination of those narratives in which the heroines are doomed to death and misfortune by male characters, husbands, lovers, criminals, insane, selfish and cruel. Each of these Lanthimos seems to be superimposed with the figure of Bella, from time to time changing sign, a crazy ingredient that changes the recipe of things, obvious epilogues, changing sign, no longer a whore, but sex workers to the cry of “my body”, no longer Eve, expelled from Eden, but a daughter who returns of her own free will, then taking the place of her father, and not the victim and suicidal wife of her husband, a colonialist and warmonger – who would like to deprive her of sexual pleasure by hiring a doctor who learned brutal methods in this regard during his travels in Africa – but a warrior who neutralizes it with an intellect that he, like many other men he meets, seems to lack.