Premieres Solitudes (Claire Simon, 2018)

By Aldo Padilla

During the last Rotterdam film fest, a certain tendency of “cruelty cinema” located in schools could be found. Five films seen in the Dutch festival are about school adolescents ending their stories in a tragic way, due to different abuses of classmates, professors or social media, all represented as a true hell on earth. Even if part of this may be true, or that this problems are not a particular thing of the present, one struggles to understand the pattern of punishment with the adolescents in those films, either for lack of integration, sexual early awakening, and overall, a common factor in gender violence, since it was women who suffered the greatest abuse.

Against this panorama is a great relief watching a film such as Premieres Solitudes by Claire Simon, a film build in base of conversations by classmates inside and out the school. The film shows an oasis of empathy, solidarity, and in particular, an ear to listen the other in some familiar issues. There are no judgements, just plans and hope for the future, besides a great inclusion of students that seem to come all around the world, in a multicultural France.

If maybe this environment of friendship may seem as too ideal in Premieres Solitudes, one cannot deny that in a time where cruelty is what sells, a honest filmmaker like Simon dared to make a work with these characteristics. An author that in her moment has been able to pick the reality of her country in different scales without abusing sordid elements and now enters a new world, with protagonists that are constantly being renewed. Even more, she doesn’t stigmatizes a generation that the current cinema has condemned in all times for its relation and so called dependence on technology.

Die Tomorrow (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, 2018)

Thai cinema breaks with the formats again in Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s Die Tomorrow, where one can’t distinguish documentary, fiction, dreams or viral videos. All this elements area mixed to find a transversal essay on death, meaning, an almost humorous look on inevitability and the quotidian side of death, where in a sinister way the film shows a clock which counts all the real-time deaths happening in the world while the spectator sees the film.

Death and its temporality is one of the constant questions of men throughout its existence, and Die Tomorrow poses the idea that a way of taking death with tranquility is to be ahead of time, already resigned. Dreams as such are interpreted in that way, each dream is a little world that is born and dies in a record time, the fugacity of these worlds that we build is contrasted with the seemingly infinite time that a man turning 103 years represent, showing a constant dialog of time and death that seem to be the same being at the end.

It is possible to different the phrase “live the moment” in respect to “you’ll die tomorrow”. The first idea has a nearer relation with setting aside a possible ending, and the second one generates more certitude, but accepts death as a natural process. Some of the deaths the movie shows are a true realm of piece, where dream and life’s end are camouflaged and the idea of rest come to fruition. Either accident, suicide or tragedy, the film concludes that death is random in an individual way, and exact in a group form. Each second two people die, a number that is almost precise and a sort of inverse clock of the universe.

Written and directed by: Claire Simon
Cinematographer: Claire Simon
Editing: Lea Masson, Luc Forveille
Sound: Virgile Van Ginneken, Nathalie Vidal
Producers: Michel Zana, Sophie Dulac Productions, Sophie Dulac, Sophie Dulac Producción:  Aurelien Py, Carthage Films, Lazare Gousseau, Carthage Films
France, 2018

Die tomorrow
Written and directed by: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
Cinematographer: Niramon Ross
Editing: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Chonlasit Upanigkit
Music: Tongta Jitdee, Pokpong Jitdee
Sound: Disarin Ninlawong
Producers: Pacharin Surawatanapongs, Very Sad Pictures, Donsaron Kovitvanitcha
Thailand, 2017