By Mónica Delgado
Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a film about the construction of a Paradise, of a bubble, of an arcade of roses for children among an obscure America, the America of unemployment, poverty and crisis. Like in Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck‘s God bless the child, a group of adults gets in charge of recreating ideal conditions for a less hostile childhood in a bad environment. It’s about giving the idea of a less alienated world, where childhood needs to be a space of liberty, experiences and friendship.
A young, marginal mother without a family lives in a highway motel with his daughter Moonee (a remarkable Brooklynn Prince), to whom she always shows an immense care despite the moral abandonment situation in which the woman lives. Willem Dafoe plays Bobby, the motel manager, who becomes the symbolic father of dozens of children in vulnerable situation that live in the rooms he rents. Thus, a world of games, freedom and child issues is created by the actions of the adults.
Sean Baker films a movie without miseries, focusing more in portraits, in the relation of mother and daughter, who live without money issues, since their friends and some occasional sales keep them from difficulties. Such is a world like this built, under the summer sun, with different unpunished antics, in a free will that allows Moonee to express herself as a rebel teenager.
Everything in The Florida Project, from the location colors which are reminiscent of a toy city, or a provisional Disnelyand where drugs and prostitution are kept far away from the kids, is developed to create a childhood without pain. That’s why the ending, that could be seen as an affirmation of an alienating environment, or a necessity to keep an “american dream”, can be seen as the urgency to maintain this color fantasy, near the mother and free from any legality: life of outsiders, in freedom.
QUINZAINE DE REALISATEURS
Director: Sean Baker
Producers: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou
Script: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Cast: Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, Willem Dafoe
Cinematography: Alexis Zabe
Editing: Sean Baker
Cre Film, Freestyle Picture Company, Cinereach, June Pictures