On May 16, the Festival de Cannes Competition presented Chang-Dong Lee’s Burning and Matteo Garrone’s Dogman. Yesterday, Under the Silver Lake by David Robert Mitchell dragged us under the shimmering surface of Los Angeles illusions, following the secret paths of the City of Angels with exciting but silent mysteries.
For his fourth invitation to Cannes, the third in official selection, the South Korean director Chang-Dong Lee presented Burning, an adaptation of the short story Barn Burning by the author Haruki Murakami. In Dogman by Italian director Matteo Garrone, a man tries to free his neighborhood from the savagery of a delinquent. Yesterday, in Under the Silver Lake, David Robert Mitchell‘s third feature film, the hero follows a mysterious initiatory path in search of a girl who attracted him but disappear immediately. His quest will lead him, from arcana to coded messages, to the encounter with enigmatic characters in the strangest places of the capital of cinema.
Beware of the Owl’s kiss
In Los Angeles, the disappearance and then the suspicious death of a film magnate makes the news, many dogs disappear, surely victim of a serial killer of canines, and a fanzine runs terrible rumors about a naked woman, wearing an owl mask, whose nocturnal kiss is fatal. Sam (Andrew Garfield), a penniless unemployed youth, loves pretty girls and watch them with binoculars from his balcony. A superb newcomer, Sarah (Riley Keough), noticed by the pool, invites him to her home before disappearing into the night inexplicably. Intrigued, Sam decides to conduct an investigation to find Sarah, and will risk his life, from murders to assassinations, to explore the darkest – and underground – facets of the City of Angels.
Underground life of the City of Angels
Life is beautiful in Los Angeles. Sam takes it easy, dreaming about who knows what but has a nice car, the girls – all actresses – are pretty, the evenings in the pretty villas are pretty, and the decor is pretty: the Observatory and its celebrities heads or statues, like Elvis, the reservoir of Silver Lake and its silver waters, a city in the city surrounded by high walls. Yet hidden under layers of refinement, the underground life of the City of Angels is surprising: the King of the Homeless uses the Observatory as a meeting point, the waters of Silver Lake are very dangerous, and in the secret city, a sardonic old man boasts of having composed all music, pop rock or others, since many generations, that became simple shells of ambitions.
Implausible investigation, horror and film noir
Sam has time and tenacity and the investigation is stimulating him. Although threatened with expulsion for unpaid rent, eager to find Sarah, he will collect some elements in a puzzle way and solve one by one codes of the homeless, messages contained in the lyrics of songs, arcana, and treasure cards. His incredible investigation, mixing horror and film noir, leads him to a disconcerting truth: only very rich people have access to the truth hidden under the city built on dreams with animated images.
The very original scenario is fascinating, the situations are original and bizarre, enamelled with humor, the music sticks to the events, a reflection of the pop and rock culture, and especially the virtuoso and meticulous staging, displays a love of cinema in all its splendor.
Under the Silver Lake by David Robert Mitchell
2h19 – Color
The Red Carpet of Burning by Chang-Dong Lee
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