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Seitan High Life reprehenderit consectetur

If in Let the Light of the Sun the protagonist lived by Juliette Binoche seeks emotional independence through casual sex, Desire and Obsession already shows how desire can subvert rationality and civility and transform people into purely instinctive beings, who barely differentiate the pain of pleasure and immerse themselves without much logic in their experiences. Using physicality as a narrative tool beyond the mere scenic movement of the actors is characteristic of Claire Denis's cinema. From the films I have seen, such interest has been present since Bom Trabalho, 1999. In High Life, Denis returns to make a film about bodies as instruments of power for his own characters, but with a Tarkovski and science fiction outfit. as politicized as Bom Trabalho.



If in Let the Light of the Sun the protagonist lived by Juliette Binoche seeks emotional independence through casual sex, Desire and Obsession already shows how desire can subvert rationality and civility and transform people into purely instinctive beings, who barely differentiate the pain of pleasure and immerse themselves without much logic in their experiences. Using physicality as a narrative tool beyond the mere scenic movement of the actors is characteristic of Claire Denis's cinema. From the films I have seen, such interest has been present since Bom Trabalho, 1999. In High Life, Denis returns to make a film about bodies as instruments of power for his own characters, but with a Tarkovski and science fiction outfit. as politicized as Bom Trabalho.

The film follows a small space prison, where criminals are sent to serve their time taking care of the station. Denis, however, does not fall into the trap of overexposing this political vein in the film, and uses it more as a device that justifies and enhances the drama of his film. High Life is a story of characters who, disturbed by their isolation and unhappy with their destiny and with the impossibility of altering it, see in the use of their bodies almost instinctively the only way to feel alive. In High Life, the regaining of body autonomy is the only way to speak out against dehumanization promoted by a punitive system, which uses work as a justification to treat individuals just like a machine on an assembly line.

High Life makes good use of this situation of loss of power over its own existence, with its characters condemned to oblivion outside their own home planet. Before inserting the political subtext, Denis is careful to establish an interesting relationship between the characters and the space, only to then "politicize" the narrative. All signs that sediment human existence in society are introduced. The family, our relationship with nature and with the divine, and going through all of that, work. Because, yes, Denis is obviously criticizing the dehumanization of the prison system in force in Western society, but she is also relating this issue directly to work and the dehumanization of the worker.

In the film, the individual is only allowed to exist when he works. Monte (Robert Pattinson, very well, as usual) starts the film working and continues to exercise his craft while taking care of his newborn daughter. There is only time to rest when he performs the last protocols of the ship and gains, from his employer, the permission to continue to exist for another 24 hours. In addition to this idea of ​​toxic and dehumanizing work, there is the entire construction of the film's scenarios. High Life starts with a beautiful garden and an astronaut in orbit, but soon changes this scenario to a suffocating ship, both for the oppressive aspect ratio of 1.66: 1, and for the overload of colors and blur, which make the scenery polluted, distressing.

With these ideas in place, Denis then moves on to what interests him most: physicality. Monte's interactions with the other characters usually come down to flirtations, kisses or aggressions. The ship's prisoners are dehumanized by work to the point of having their most basic instincts of survival and reproduction as the only reminder that they are, after all, people. The bodies are constantly filmed as the only objects receiving “natural” light in the frame precisely because they are the only real and tangible thing that still exists in the lives of those characters.

With the exception of these scenes of exchanging caresses and aggressions, the only remnant of humanity that the characters can still envision is in distant memories, memories that are always inserted in somewhat rough, dirty cuts, creating a feeling that they are fragments of existence of those characters who are about to disappear. Like a body that, at one point in the film, simply disappears lying in the work field. In High Life, survival is the only alternative for the individual whose existence is assured only as long as he is productive. It is, at the same time, the symbolic reconstruction of the worker's role in capitalism, but also the deconstruction of this system as a solution for humanity. It is the point that an escape or a revolution is more than important, it is necessary for survival.

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