Welcome to our 2015 Festival Staff Picks column! We’ll be posting some first looks at Festival Films to look out for on the 2015 Film Schedule. Check back to the AFF blog for new Staff Picks each week!
Excluding my grandparents, I would recommend Memoria to just about everyone I know. However, I would never take a first date to see it. The night would end with a silent car ride and a “Yup, ‘night,” as she shuts the car door and decides not to talk to me again, or date anyone ever because life is pointless and no one loves you.
Yes, Memoria is depressing, but it’s rare that a movie can successfully navigate the melodrama of adolescence without coming off as a patronizing cheese-ball suffocated in plastic-wrapped acting. It is a seriously dark movie, and it will remind you of how unforgiving and uncaring the world can be. Yet, the bleakness of the film is so well crafted that it never feels overdone—the central character, Ivan, isn’t bringing you down; the world is bringing you down with him.
I often get the feeling that dramas about teenagers don’t invest enough time to make their characters compelling because there is an expectation for the seats to be filled with high school kids so excited to see Kristen Stewart kiss some pale-faced goon that any character building would be time stolen from laughably dreamy stares. I suppose that’s what makes Memoria so relatable even if you’re not a teenager anymore. This movie is about its characters, not pretty faces cleaning up at the box-office. Ivan’s pain is so much deeper than simple teenage angst; it’s an utter isolation that many of us thankfully never experience—but it is a suffering you will certainly feel.
-Richard Sharp, Film Department
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