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X: Review – Nocturno

X It is a 2022 film directed by T West.

We live in a cinematic moment in which many directors prefer to delve into their own stories in the past, often between the 70s and 80s. Nostalgia for something not experienced has become commonplace. We had a recent example with Paul Thomas Anderson and Licorice pizza And now that’s the case with Ti West X. It’s as if we’ve noted the narrative and aesthetic possibilities of an era – in particular the 1970s, which is perhaps an endless reservoir of wild stories – compared to the now-constant, repetitive, anti-beauty (for pandemic and other reasons). Ty West, born in 1980, set his story in 79, at a crucial transitional moment for the cinema genre. The protagonists of the story are young men struggling with shabby porn productions: a novice director but with big artistic ambitions, his microphone partner, a black actor of impressive size, a blonde and chubby self-actress, a macho producer blinded by an American. dream. Then Maxine, a girl who is ready to break into the cinema thanks to the star role that Wayne, the producer, thought of. It shoots farther south, in rural Texas, specifically at the Pearl and Howard ranch, and they are a crazy old couple. Indeed, Pearl often “mixes,” as her husband says, and thus sexually molests anyone who still has a young and attractive body, like the one she once flaunted when she was a dancer. But he who refuses his advance comes to a bad end…X It is above all a movie about time, about a meeting between two opposing and (possibly) irreconcilable generations. The two murderers are two poor old men struggling with sexual urges that they can no longer vent freely: she has a great desire (or more than anything else) to do so, but she is no longer as beautiful as she once was, on the contrary, she has a corpse-like appearance. , terrifying ; On the other hand, he has a weak heart, and he may have a heart attack during sex. On the other hand, the crew consists of attractive and distinguished guys, who only get sick of sex in front of the camera.

For them, the myth of success is more exciting than free love. The exception is the character Lorena, the microphone player, who spontaneously decided to take part in the film as an actress, driven by sincere curiosity and the desire for adventure. We can see in this clash of generations, as the horned old woman kills the handsome young men, and we are unable to escape the ghost of a bygone era. This might really be the movie meta-talk X: a film by an author drawn to a very specific era (see also Devil’s house And Secret), but somehow a victim of the same era, as well as aware of the mystery of this relationship. Meanwhile, the past, represented by the elderly couple, imposes itself as a premonition of the future, which sooner or later the young will have to experience firsthand. So much so that in X The real conflation of horror and pornography lies not in the conflation of pain with pleasure, but in the confrontation between the horrific bodies of the elderly peasants and the pornographic bodies of the young crew. On a more literal level, Ti West depicts cinema’s last moment of creative freedom before its decline. At the end of the seventies, videotapes became more accessible to all, and many independent producers and directors saw in the new home video market attractive possibilities for their production, which are now beginning to separate themselves from the big screen with the aim of reaching another kind of market. Indeed, the spread of VHS will be one of the main causes of death for pornography, or at least porn as a cinematic and possibly artistic genre. West manages to perfectly capture the spirit of those years, between sex, carnage, porn and cocaine, through a film that references the trends of the times (particularly the slasher), but without settling on pre-established rules and patterns.

The general situation and some special situations remind us Don’t open this door, but West shy away from small quotes and meta-movies as an end in themselves, instead showing an enviable freshness. The first shot already perfectly represents what we’ll see, with picture in picture, movie in movie, and front camera movement allowing us to see more and more up close, passing from the square format (like the one with the storyline pornographers switching) to a modern full screen. But this change of form is obtained through a patchwork medium, using the dark walls of the barn as if the black bars were on the sides of the picture. The title itself, a simple X, can abbreviate many meanings in one reference. Above all, it is X that was rated in those years for adult films, which were rated as such because they were sexually explicit or too violent. With the American pronunciation, then, the letter X is read like the word “axe”, that is, the axe, a weapon that in no way plays a central role in the story. But Axe It’s also a 1974 movie, a kind of rape and revenge setting very similar to the one in which our heroes move in. Finally, the X can be seen as a sign of the intersection of two lines: in the movie Ti West, horror and porn, sex and death, young and old intersect. All things that, when taken together, prove they have a lot in common. And in fact, Mia Goth appears in a double role, giving the face to both Maxine and Pearl, that is, the victim and the executioner, the object of desire and the object of desire. This is the real horror being said here: You have nothing else to love and protect but the ghost of our own identity.

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