Anxiety of our time: how the Cannes laureate signed her dislike for journalism

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Anxiety of our time: how the Cannes laureate signed her dislike for journalism
Anxiety of our time: how the Cannes laureate signed her dislike for journalism
1 November, 17:08CulturePhoto: Кадр из фильма
The topic of the article was born out of the controversy surrounding the winner of the Grand Prix of the last Cannes Film Festival - the film "Stars at Noon" by the cult director Claire Denis. The paradox lies in the fact that, despite the high evaluation of the jury, film critics met the picture, in general, rather cool.

Sergei Mitroshin

And deservedly chilly. Telling a certain story, Claire Denis did not tell anything! We did not learn anything about the background of her characters. Nothing about their plans and motives. They are "stars at noon", when, in fact, the stars are not visible.

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Besides, Claire, knowingly or not, mixed up the times. The novel by Denis Johnson, which was the basis of the script, spoke about the 1980s Nicaragua, when the civil war was raging with might and main, but the film describes some other, abstract Nicaragua - also with some kind of war, but with cell phones and anti-COVID masks . It is only clear that not everything is in order in the country, the economy is in decline, the secret police carry out political terror, the circulation of the dollar is prohibited, the ideology is an official dislike for America. However, there is also a "good": the black currency market and the oases of Western service, where you can have a good time and get drunk. In general, everything is like ours. And the general conclusion is this: it turns out that it is possible to live like this.

About the heroes themselves (he and she), we only know that they are sexy, beautiful, but not very good people. Their romance is poisonous, which is why completely outsiders who are involved in a strange history of relationships really die. Moreover, they die aimlessly and not at the sight of planned circumstances, but as victims of an accident or natural disaster. But why we didn’t learn anything about the heroes and didn’t understand why it all happened, it’s not because of the weakness of the dramaturgy, but because the main thing in the film is not the cynical-romantic story of a sweet couple, but ... atmospheric, “anxiety”.

Such a feint was eventually thrown out by criticism.

A picture consisting of only unknowns

In general, “anxiety” is a feature of the middle of the last century. Not coincidentally, Denis' film can also be seen as a paraphrase of Antonioni's classic Eclipse (1962). There, the characters (he and she) also experience an anxious eclipse, when a sexual feeling pulls them out, him out of business, her out of I don’t remember what, and then the eclipse passes and they return to their usual existence. Although, perhaps, it was precisely this that was the real eclipse. Such is, as it were, a synopsis of a synopsis.

The characters in Stars at Noon also experience an "eclipse." She, an American Trish (either a prostitute, or an investigative journalist, and this is again, as it were, a reference to Antonioniev's "Profession: Reporter", 1975) and he (either secret agent Daniel, or a narrow-minded employee of a mysterious oil company) suddenly forget about their social or professional roles and are dragged into a sexy sweaty romance. This is, as it were, their sincere present, coming from a primitive instinct.

But the "eclipse" passes and false social roles take over. She betrays Daniel for the money she can use to return to America, and he seems to be not very upset, because it turns out that he has a "roof" that the Nicaraguan or Costa Rican secret police cannot break. What is the drama then? In the general feeling of unwinding of this world. In a picture consisting of some unknowns.

What is the difference between the new anxiety and the old one?

In fact, that “anxiety” of the middle of the last century still had clear and quite clear grounds for us today. Subtly feeling artists of the past decades saw cracks in the body of world ideological dictatorships and indirectly foresaw their global demolition, which, by the way, happened in the 1990s. But the "anxiety" of the first third of the twenty-first century, as it seems, has a completely different background.

Our world has again suddenly and without any preliminarily made predictions completely broken. Everyone sees it - there is no secret. On the contrary, the scrap machinery is shamelessly exposed. Both Trish and Daniel saw it. They did not see only what would follow the break that had already happened. The anxiety of waiting for a break, spilled over in the 1960s and 70s, was replaced by the anxiety of waiting for the results of a new break. What will happen next and whether there will be any “next” for this. Roughly speaking, will not everything burn out in a nuclear apocalypse. The new "anxiety" is hung like Christmas decorations, suicides of adults and children playing wars, suicidal behavior of states.

Why don't they like journalists?

The phrase said about the heroine - "either a journalist or a prostitute" - makes more sense than pedaling the uncertainties of our time. Perhaps this is a conscious connection in the relationship of the first and second most ancient professions. Some critics believe that Trish was a prostitute who posed as an investigative journalist solely to get close to the object of her sexual desire. Then she pumped up the paranoia of persecution. Others say that she is just an unfortunate journalist, forced to prostitute due to life circumstances and a crisis in her profession. As a political editor and team leader in the liberal decade, I observed both the former and the latter in practice.

So, often status journalists turned out to be in my subordination, exactly the same “trishas” from the pools in power, selling information through proximity to one or another powerful of this world. And then they disappeared, just like David Locke from Profession: Reporter, looking for oblivion, suddenly did not go to work, becoming happy or unhappy wives.

Claire Denis does not hide the fact that she does not like such journalism, but, in truth, no one loves it today, not only consumers of information materials, but even the journalists themselves. The costs of the profession and the dependence of "journalists" on the political orientation of the employer, the loss of moral armor and the status of the fourth power have become too obvious.

The creative trajectory of the once liberal orator Krasovsky, now selfing himself on the balcony, where he portrayed the dances of the wild joy of an aboriginal, because “patriotic” rockets fell on the heads of punished citizens, rises before my eyes. The employer has changed! Or the very bottom: when he called for the drowning and burning of disloyal Russian-speaking children. Even the "patriots" were somewhat stunned.

Or the tragic death of another journalist, a media manager (everyone knows who I'm talking about, but please take it aloof), around whom a circle of respected liberal publicists once formed in the liberal years. And in the last scenes, including scenes of life, we see her together with the propagandist Simonyan, creatively planning the work schedule ... because the employer has also changed here!

It is probably absurd to appeal to someone that it is impossible to live like this and that there are limits to conformism. But you can watch Stars at Noon and think about it a little.

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