SHORT REVIEWS (26): OUR MEN
*** Masterpiece ***A Must See **Worth Seeing * Has a Reedimg Facet ° Worthless
Chevalier, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece, 2015 (**)
By Roger Koza
Chevalier opens with a panoramic shot of a coast in which two men can be seen returning from diving. The shot is held for a while and in its duration there is open room for questions. The final shot will be somewhat similar; only it won’t show a coast, but a harbour. Time duration is felt. Those who know how to sustain a shot for a long time are those interested in filming as if shots themselves were posing questions.
From one side to the other, from coast to harbour, this is the real time of a film in which the scenery is the ocean and a little boat floating in it. Several men return to their houses after diving. During the wait, or the journey, a game offers Tsangari the opportunity to undertake a systematic exploration of masculinity.
In Chevalier, due to the fact the film is an inquiry on masculinity, the men sailing in the boat are well defined prototypes: machos, effeminates, powerful ones, sensitive ones, and fools. The boat is a floating behavioral laboratory where acts are triggered by a game suggested at a certain moment. The goal of the game is to find out which one among them is the best man. It doesn’t matter what the activities to measure and compare effectivity are, but rather understanding that the masculine world articulates around competition. To compete defines masculinity in this world; and this principle, in an undirect way, can account directly for the Greek crisis. Permanent competition and endless training constitute the matrix of capitalist subjectivity, a byproduct of macho imagery.
Chevalier can pass for a light movie, occasionally humorous, protected by its own abstraction (the laboratory) and its surface (a little boat in in the sea), but this lm grows as days pass by. Tsangari gives us enough hints that she has matured as a filmmaker. The director has abandoned symbolic pyrotecnia at the service of cinema and prefers now contention and modesty to tune in with its times.
Roger Koza / Copyleft 2016
* English Version by Tiosha Bojórquez