The Gospel according to Sunmi. A fantasy more modern than ever, in the age of coronavirus

Another fitting movie that can be rewatched these days is Cloud Atlas, a screenplay based on David Mitchell’s novel, because it makes us understand the connections between eras that confirm history, and the connections that begin to become visible in this period. At the same time, the film makes a nod to a future (there are two, one holistic and one post-apocalyptic) that we risk slipping into if we don’t manage this crisis properly.

Or the Bible according to the Wachowski Brothers, it could be titled “Cloud Atlas,” a movie the “Matrix” authors made with German Tom Tykwer, a great adaptation of the novel by David Mitchell.

Both the book by David Mitchell and the film by the three co-directors start from an ancient human desire: to give meaning to things, to believe that everything that happens has a hidden meaning, but which we can realize with some effort. “Everything is connected,” sounds like the movie’s tagline, and that’s what the six (interconnected) stories that make up the movie want to show. It’s not so much about the imaginative idea of ​​reincarnation and past lives, and it’s not so much about the idea that things flow from each other (there are links between episodes, but they are relatively secondary), but rather about the resemblance of actions outside space and time to one pattern Common keeps repeating itself.

Doona Bae and Xun Zhou in “Cloud Atlas” (2012)

The good thing: It was time for a movie for the audience with ideological content and intellectual interest. A precedent of this kind would be James Cameron’s “Avatar” (because “Inception” is, in my opinion, half a mistake). Pay attention, we are not talking about art or film festivals, with a narrow circle, but one Turnout that addresses the widest audience. The Wachowski brothers have done this before, in the Matrix trilogy and V production for Vendetta, so they know exactly what they’re talking about (unrelated, but in the meantime, Larry has changed his gender and become Lana Wachowski).

German Tom Tykwer is not from here, there either: after the great success of the 90s with the independent film “Run, Lola, Run” (which marked a time in German cinema), he also directed more art films, as well as blockbusters with distribution International, cast in English, such as the screen adaptation of the novel “Perfume”. Most recently, Tykwer has returned to German to present “3” / “Drei,” an extraordinary film about feelings and sexual identity in the postmodern period he (some of us) is experiencing.

parallel mounting

The stories told in “Cloud Atlas” and their parallel montage of alert gradually capture you as you follow them with interest, trying to fill in the blanks and understand what is happening as much as possible. The movie always manages to give the impression that it has something important to say, and that a revelation is imminent. The problem is the frustration that appears right after the end of the examination, when you realize that, in fact, you were not told anything fundamental, the authors had no way. But the movie is especially important for what it doesn’t show you on screen, what you don’t see, and the way it makes you dream inside the movie theater. This is how the “Star Wars”, “Matrix” or “Avatar” series did at the time, and “Cloud Atlas” is trying to be.

“Old Georgie” (Hugo Weaving), the demon who is actually history’s “leadership agent”, and the vector of nothingness

There are six stories spanning from the mid-19th century to an indefinite post-apocalyptic future, passing through the present and through New Seoul (the Korean capital of the twenty-second century), and it all ends on another orb, from where we have descendants looking at the “blue planet” Little. After the initial section in which the six units of space and time are presented, to give us an idea of ​​what it’s about, the actions are superimposed in a short sequence, in an alert parallel montage. It is not the action devised by Griffiths in “Intolerance”, by which verbs are regulated simultaneously; Here we are shown actions taking place in completely different eras, as if to convince us that they are the same, history endlessly repeats the same scenario.

History as a slave’s liberation

Although initially referring to the feeling of “deja vuAnd a sense of past life, those aren’t the things that ‘Cloud Atlas’ focuses on (we don’t have a novel like ‘Adam and Eve’, we’re thinking of Aronofsky’s ‘The Fountain’). The links between episodes, as I said, are there, but they don’t define the event. Essentially.What would give the six episodes a common air is that they talk about freedom and the fight against slavery, from black people in the nineteenth century, to the very miserable world of Seoul in the twenty-second century (whose ideology is called corpo-cratism). maximum consequences of the current corporate outbreak).

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Sunmi, the central character in this penultimate part, goes from Ali’s slave to prophet whose words will change the world. Years later, I became a world goddess who survived an unspecified catastrophe, but we are told it happened because of our illness of wanting more and more. Although Sunmi’s script is called a revelation, it is actually a gospel, because all the emotional quotes circulating throughout the film are taken from here.

Donna Bae (Sunmi) in “Cloud Atlas” (2012)

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Indeed, history is a permanent emancipation of the slave, a struggle for liberation and gaining dignity, but history also shows us that any tyranny is replaced by a greater one. However, “Cloud Atlas” doesn’t tell us that.

The peculiarity of the film is that all the main actors play multiple roles, usually one in each story; The make-up was so successful that in practice it is very difficult to recognize them in all their poses.

(Text written in December 2012)


Cloud Atlas / Cloud Atlas (co-production, 2012)
Director: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski
with: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Donna Bay, Ben Whishaw, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant
4 stars

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