Gus Van Sant
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Gerry , 6/10
Links:

My Own Private Idaho (1991) is a picaresque film that tells the adventures of two unlikely knights, one belonging to a rich family and one belonging to a poor family, in their quest for the meaning of life. The rich one is trying to escape his father, the poor one is trying to escape the road of his childhood. They are both trying to escape from themselves. Their parable is set in the slums, among misfits and bums. They both become male prostitutes, the ultimate form of self-degradation. They both go back to their roots, they both take on the personas that they have tried to hard to deny. A young hitchhiker, Mike, is waiting for a car to pass by on a long straight road in the middle of nowhere, Idaho. He drops to the pavement in a narcoleptic fit and has a vision of his mother caressing him during one such crisis.
Mike reaches Seattle and makes a living as a male prostitute, for both men and women. One of his customers is a man full of himself who gets excited watching him clean the apartment. Another customer is a sophisticated lady who needs three men to get excited. Alas, she reminds him of his mother, a fact that is almost certain to trigger a narcoleptic fit. The other two kids drag his body into the street. In the morning, Mike wakes up and is offered a ride by a German pervert, Hans. Mike refuses, but has yet another fit.
When he wakes up, Mike is in Portland. It turns out that Hans loaded him into the car and drove him to his friend Scott, another male prostitute, albeit a classy one, and Hans gave both a ride to Portland.
In Portland Mike and Scott share an abandoned building with other misfits, who are led by a legendary character, Bob, older than them. Bob is also a former lover of Scott, and Scott's mentor and tutor. It turns out that Scott is the son of a wealthy man, heir to a fortune. He and Bob talk as if they were reciting Shakespeare. One night the squatters, dressed like Tibetan monks, rob a group of kids. Scott and Mike have fun robbing them of the loot and then ridiculing Bob who ran away without fighting but tells the story of a heroic fight. The police break into the building looking for Bob, but Scott helps him hide. The police officers know who Scott is and politely tell him that his father is looking for him, although they caught him in bed with Mike. Later, Scott faces his father and denies all the accusations against him. Scott is clearly still interested in inheriting his father's fortune.
Scott and Mike steal a motorcycle and ride all the way back to Idaho. They get stuck on the same road that Mike was trying to leave behind. A police officer helps them fix the motorcycle. They reach the house of Mike's father. He feeds them and tells Mike about his mother: she ran away with a gambler when she was pregnant of him, Mike, and then one day she killed her lover at a drive-in. Mike's father even tries to convince Mike that the gambler was his real father, but Mike knows better.
Mike decides to follow a clue to where his mother might be. He and Scott ride the motorcycle to a hotel, where they are told that Mike's mother moved to Italy. Mike is disappointed, but Scott finds a way to continue the chase: the German pervert, Hans, is staying at the same hotel, and pays to have sex with them (still images of the three naked bodies) and to purchase the motorcycle. With the money, Scott and Mike fly to Rome and track down the farm where the woman fled. They meet a cute Italian girl, Carmela, who falls in love with Scott, but Mike's mother has already gone back to America. Scott and Carmela have sex all the time, while Mike is both desperate (he has lost his mother one more time) and jealous. Eventually, Scott and Carmela leave together to get married. Scott has received a telegram informing him of the death of his father: he is now very rich.
Mike prostitutes himself around the Colosseum, but eventually flies back to Portland, where he joins Bob's gang again. One day the gang spots Scott and Carmela, all dressed up, entering a fancy restaurant. Bob does not hesitate to enter the restaurant, thinking that Scott will share his good luck with his old friends. Instead, Scott asks him to leave, turning his back to him and facing Carmela, who is now his elegant fiance`. That night Bob dies of a heart attack while he is sleeping on the terrace of the abandoned building.
When Scott and a small crowd of relatives buries his father, the gang buries Bob not far from them. Scott's funeral is as formal as Bob's funeral is noisy and wild.
Mike travels back to Idaho. Same road, same fit. A truck stops and two men descend from it and steal his bag and his boots. A car stops a little later and takes him away.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo pezzo, contattami

If English is your first language and you could translate this text, please contact me.
Scroll down for recent reviews in english.
To Die For (1995) La storia e` raccontata con una serie di flashback, uno della protagonista (Nicole Kidman), uno della sorella della vittima, uno di un carcerato, uno dei genitori. Tutti stanno raccontando la sua storia davanti a una cinepresa. La donna, avvenente ma un po' svampita, alla Marylin Monroe, incontra un giovane italo-americano, i cui genitori sono amici di mafiosi e possiedono un ristorante. I due si innamorano e si sposano. Sposatasi, la donna manifesta il desiderio di entrare nel mondo della televisione. Si fa assumere come segretaria a una piccola stazione televisiva del paese e poco alla volta riesce a imporsi come l'annunciatrice delle previsioni del tempo. Non le basta: cerca di convincere il capo a lasciarle fare un documentario sui ragazzi del liceo. Ottiene il permesso e comincia a lavorare arduamente con tre ragazzi, tutti e tre un po' disadattati. Diventa amica della ragazza grassa, si conquista la fiducia di un mezzo psicopatico. Il marito pensa pero` ad ereditare il ristorante di papa` e un giorno trova il coraggio di dire alla bella moglie che e` ora di accantonare i suoi sogni di fama. La donna sembra accettare, ma subito dopo organizza un incontro con la ragazza grassa e lo psicopatico e si fa sedurre da questi sotto gli occhi della ragazza. Inizia una relazione in cui lei lo droga sempre piu` con il sesso. Un giorno lo convince ad uccidere il marito. Lui accetta e coinvolge la ragazza grassa e l'altro studente. Mentre lei fa la sua trasmissione, lo psicopatico penetra in casa e fredda il marito.
La polizia sospetta pero` qualcosa e la tiene d'occhio, finche' la vede incontrarsi con lo psicopatico. Sequestrano i nastri del suo documentario e scoprono allusioni dello psicopatico alla sua donna. Sempre piu` insospettiti, scoprono infine la verita'. Il punk crolla e la accusa. Lei imbastisce una storia incredibile e riesce a cavarsela, accusando il marito di essere un drogato cacciatosi nei guai. La famiglia dell'uomo non la perdona pero' e un sicario la fa scomparire sotto una coltre di ghiaccio. Lei scompare, e la ragazza grassa e` l'unica in liberta` a poter godere della pubblicita' destata dal caso. La sorella del morto, che l'aveva sempre odiata, pattina sul ghiaccio dove lei e` sepolta.
I vari flashback sono praticamente il documentario che lei voleva fare e che nei suoi sogni l'avrebbe lanciata nel mondo di Hollywood. Soltanto che lancia invece la ragazza. Nicole e` invece vittima della mania di diventare famosa, di finire in televisione.

Good Will Hunting (1997) Will Hunting e` il janitor di una prestigiosa universita`. Viene da un ambiente di orfanotrofi e correzionali e ha come amici altri giovani della piccola borghesia. In segreto studia matematica e sa di essere un genio. Un giorno scrive sulla lavagna la soluzione a un difficile teorema che il professore ultra-premiato dell'universita` ha assegnato agli studenti. Dopo giorni di indagini, il professore riesce finalmente a scoprire il genio misterioso. Ma Will vive in un mondo violento ed e` appena stato arrestato per una rissa, e ha una fedina penale terribile. Il professore gli offre la liberta` in cambio di aiuto nella ricerca matematica. Il giudice impone pero` a Will anche di farsi vedere da uno psicanalista, e Will manda in bestia tutti finche' il professore non chiede aiuto all'amico Sean McGuire, un suo compagno di studi che ha rinunciato alla carriera e alla gloria preferendo un umile lavoro di insegnante di psicologia. Sean riesce poco alla volta a farsi amico Will. Tanto che alla fine difende il suo spirito indipendente e ribelle dalla personalita` ambiziosa e strutturata del matematico. Will ha trovato una ragazza e potrebbe anche avere un lavoro di tutto rispetto come matematico. Sembra che decida di condurre una vita borghese. Gli amici del bar gli regalano un'auto assemblata alla buona. Lo psicologo conclude la sua terapia e decide di cambiare aria. Il ragazzo scappa con la ragazza. Lungo e noioso, dialoghi patetici.
Gerry (2003) is a philosophical allegory that basically transposes Ingmar Bergman and Andrej Tarkovsky to the desert. There are only two characters (save for a few extras who play a few seconds here and there). They talk, walk and get lost. The "getting lost" is most of the film. The landscape is the third protagonist: a hostile, infinite, silent, empty desert. They are looking for something (that we never learn) and they lose their way. They cannot come back. As fear mounts, tempers flare. Very little happens. The landscape is what really happens. This is one of the slowest and most uneventful films ever made in the USA. A long, steady shot follows a car that is driving up a narrow road in the desert. There is no traffic. There is no town. There is no life. Just the car advancing in the desert. Two young men are in the car, and they don't say a word. They park and start hiking. They call each other "Gerry". Soon, they are alone in the wilderness. Next morning the landscape has mutated into a white empty desert. They are looking for a "spot". They split, hoping to increase the chances of finding it. One of the two climbs a boulder and can't get down. The other one tells him to jump. He jumps and, miracolously, does not get hurt. Lengthy camera shots scor the static, silent landscape for a sign of life. They follow animal tracks, hoping that the animals are heading towards water, but soon lose them. They walk up sandy dunes, and into windy canyons. They are now completely lost. As fear sinks in, and hallucinations further hurt their morale, they begin to get on each other's nerves. They also walk at night, slower and slower. A giant white sun rises in a yellow sky. They finally find themselves in a huge, flat field of salty dust. Here they collapse and eventually start fighting. One of the two strangles the other. Ironically, they were close to the road: the survivors hears the noise of a truck and then sees the distant shapes of the vehicles on the highway. A family gives him a ride, and he watches the desert pass by. (Translation by/ Tradotto da Laura Tosi)

Gerry (2003) è un’allegoria filosofica che essenzialmente è la trasposizione di Ingmar Bergman e Andrej Tarkovsky nel deserto. I personaggi sono soltanto due (se si esclude qualche comparsa che fa la sua apparizione qua e là per alcuni secondi). Parlano, camminano e finiscono col perdersi. Il "perdersi" costituisce la maggior parte del film. Ma c’è anche un terzo protagonista, il paesaggio: un deserto infinito, vuoto, muto, ostile. I due sono alla ricerca di qualcosa ( ma non sapremo mai di cosa si tratta) e si smarriscono. Non possono tornare indietro. La tensione sale, esplode la collera. Non succede quasi niente. Solo il paesaggio è veramente attivo. Si tratta di uno dei film più lenti e privi d’azione che siano mai stati prodotti negli Stati Uniti.

La telecamera segue con sguardo fermo e insistente un’automobile che sta percorrendo una stretta strada nel deserto. Non c’è traffico. Non ci sono città. Non c’è vita. Solo l’auto che avanza nel deserto. Nell’auto ci sono due giovani che non dicono una parola. Fermano la macchina e iniziano ad esplorare a piedi la zona. Ognuno si rivolge all’altro chiamandolo "Gerry". Presto si ritrovano soli circondati da un territorio selvaggio. La mattina seguente il paesaggio è diverso: un vuoto, bianco deserto. I due stanno cercando un "posto". Si separano nella speranza di avere maggiori possibilità di trovarlo. Uno dei due si arrampica su un masso e non riesce più a ridiscenderne. L’altro lo incita a saltare giù. Questo salta e miracolosamente rimane illeso. A lungo la telecamera scandaglia l’immobile e muto paesaggio in cerca di un segnale di vita. I due seguono le impronte lasciate dagli animali nella speranza che questi si stiano spostando verso l’acqua, ma ben presto ne perdono le tracce. Camminano per dune sabbiose e attraverso canyon battuti dal vento. Adesso si ritrovano completamente persi. Con il passare del tempo iniziano a non sopportarsi a vicenda. Camminano anche durante la notte. Sempre più lentamente. Un enorme sole bianco si leva in un cielo giallo. Alla fine si ritrovano in un’enorme, piatta distesa di polvere salata. Qui crollano ed iniziano a lottare. Uno dei due strangola l’altro. Colmo d’ironia, erano vicini alla strada: il sopravvissuto sente il rombo di un camion e scorge in lontananza le sagome dei veicoli sull’autostrada. Una famiglia gli offre un passaggio ed egli osserva il deserto sfilargli accanto.

Elephant (2003), inspired to real-life cases, follows high-school students around their school and their homes for one day. It displays Van Sant's fascination for young desperate pointless lives and the metaphysical contrast of those lives with blue skies and prairies (although here their presence is only hinted at). The actors are all high-school students, and they use their real names. Van Sant uses a bit of asynchronous narrative techniques in the vein of Memento and Time Code: the same scene is filmed by different cameras from different angles (following different kids) and the various versions are played at a different time. Eventually one realizes that the puzzle is a sequence of events that have been broken down in elementary constituents (each kid's personal experience on that day). The film continues Gerry's progression towards a minimalistic, almost emotion-less kind of film-making. The movie opens with fast-moving clouds in a blue sky over electrical wires. A drunk driver hits a car but keeps driving until it runs on a sidewalk: it turns out the driver is an adult, and his son, John, tells him to stop and takes over. Elias is a photographer who asks two punks to take pictures of them for his portfolio. The school's principal is angry at John who shows up late, but probably knows the reason because he lets him go without any major lecture. Nathan plays football with other kids and then walks into the school, admired by three girls; but he has a girlfriend and they walk away together. John, who is crying in an empty room, gets a kiss from a kind girl, Acadia.
Elias and John meet in the hallway and Elias asks to take a picture of John.
John walks out of the school and sees two kids (Eric and Alex) dressed in military uniforms walk into school carrying loads of military material.
A flashback (we learn later that it is a flashback) shows a kid, Alex, persecuted by his classmates. He walks around the cafeteria and takes notes: he tells people that he has a "plan".
The ugly Michelle is reproached by the gym teacher because she always wears long pants. Michelle changes clothes while the other girls are showering.
John leaves the photo lab and runs into Elias: it's the same scene we've already seen, but this time we follow Elias instead of John. Elias walks into the library. Michelle works in that library.
The three girls who like Nathan (the same scene viewed from the girls' viewpoint) gossip in the hallway and then go to the cafeteria and start arguing about silly topics.
At home, Alex plays Beethoven at the piano, while his friend Eric plays with a violent videogame on a laptop. The Alex takes the laptop and browses a website that sells guns. (We learn later that this is a flashback). Clouds in the sky. Storm. Alex and Eric fall asleep during the storm. The following morning they have breakfast, watch a documentary on nazism, receive a package with the gun that they ordered, test it in the garage.
Michelle leaves the gym and walks down the hallway, passing John who is taking pictures of Elias (third version of the same scene), and enters the library, where she works (this scene precedes the one in which she is already working at the shelves). Michelle turns surprised by something.
Alex and Eric take a shower together and kiss. Then they discuss the plan. They drive to school with all their guns and explosives. They pass John and tell his to stay out of school (we've already seen this scene from John's perspective). John understands what is about to happen and tell kids to stay out. Alex and Eric enter the library and shoot Michelle (their entrance is what had surprised Michelle). They keep shooting people like targets, then walk into the restrooms and shoot the three gossiping girls. Benny, a black man, is not afraid: without a word, he walk towards the gunmen. Outside, John can hear the kids screaming and can see smoke coming out of the windows. Eric is staring at the principal who is begging for his life. Benny almost surprises Eric but Eric sees him and shoots him. Then he tells the principal to run, but only to shoot him in the back. Alex is still on a rampage too. The two meet in the cafeteria. Eric boasts he has just killed the principal. Alex kills him too. Nathan and his girlfriend are hiding in the freezer, but Alex finds them and recites a rigmarole before killing them.
Fast moving clouds in a sky that has become very dark.
The film has its weak points. For starter, it is not possible to buy guns over the Internet, as the two kids do. So the movie loses most of its "documentary" appeal when it resorts to a typical cheap Hollywood cliche'. Secondly, the ending is suddenly Hollywood at its worst: it almost feels like a parody of countless action B-movies.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo pezzo, contattami

What is unique about this cinema database