A Cure For Wellness – Everything Is… Ok

Quick Thoughts: A Cure For Wellness (2016)

A highly ambitious, young executive attempts to retrieve a CEO from a wellness centre.

A Cure For Wellness is, in my view, a modern masterpiece – and will likely be confirmed as such with time.

Boiled down to its most simple form, A Cure For Wellness is a film about not knowing how to appreciate life; it is about an element of our society, and the world alike, that only believes that it can dream – can live in a utopia – with its eyes closed. Moreover, A Cure For Wellness is a horror about a group of people, lead by a corrupt individual, who decide to do something about this; to take those who think that they can only dream with their eyes closed and turn them into animals who do not know when their eyes are open or closed, and who do not know how to recognise reality as anything other than a dream – a dream in which they never have to suffer or sacrifice anything to the consequence of never being able to truly live with emotion, vulnerability and meaning. And this is done by the corrupt, vain and sadomasochistic individuals for their own gain and self-satisfaction; for the realisation of their own corrupt dreams and ideologies.

A Cure For Wellness is then, in a certain sense, a film about Communist Russia and Nazi Germany – and it could be a film about a future in which corrupt ideologies and economic and political systems rule our the world and bring it to its knees; it is a film about a society blindly following the regime of, and being taken advantage of, by perverse, malicious and thoroughly corrupt individuals.

What then makes this a masterpiece in my view is its depiction of an individual that wakes up, and with him, wakes others up to live in a world that is, in fact, ok – that could be better – but is ok as is, and, in turn, is worth living in.

 

 

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H-8 – As A Tragedy Unfolds…

Quick Thoughts: H-8… (1958)

Made by Nikola Tanhofer, this is the Croatian film of the series.

H-8 is a film from the Croatian film industry’s first period of significance, their first golden age, which rose from development following WWII in the late 50s. H-8 is in fact considered one of the best Croatian films ever made by one of Croatia’s most important directors,┬áNikola Tanhofer.

With invigorated and fluid camera work, striking cinematography and some incredible editing that, along with the various elements of sound design, imbues this narrative with tension and a pace that drives us, white-knuckled, towards a pre-determined fate, it is clear why H-8 is seen to be one of the best Croatian films ever made. Essentially a re-enactment and dramatisation of a real-life crash between a bus and a truck that was the fault of an anonymous car driver and resulted in the deaths of many people, H-8 gives character, personality and a human touch to what would otherwise just be an impersonal report in which people are reduced to mere numbers. There is commentary on this approach to narrative storytelling throughout this film, and it is most expressively projected through a question of people – doctors and journalists – making a business out of other peoples’ misfortune. Whilst a doctor aims to stop or reduce the misfortune and suffering of others, the role of a journalist, or a filmmaker for instance, is different. However, no role concerning the suffering of others is simple. So, through the complications that then arise for the doctor and journalists on the bus, the purpose of telling this story is called into question: Why tell real life stories? Why dramatise and make what could be perceived as either art or entertainment out of misery, death and tragedy?

These are difficult questions to navigate through, but Tanhofer does very well in not only making clear the constructed elements of this story (much of what concerns the characters), but also projecting an earnest story that has us invest in tragedy and question our consumption of it. So, by sometimes stepping into the shoes of our characters, and sometimes questioning the act of this stepping, we are made to see tragedy from multiple perspectives. And it is ultimately the seeing, no matter how you assess the ethics of this film, that are shown to primarily matter. And this is what H-8 clearly attempts to represent. To face tragedy is then shown to be more important than speeding away from it, blinded by fear, irresponsibility or a stark absence of empathy.

For this, H-8 is certainly a film worth watching, and maybe with a thought or two directed towards the act of consuming this story.

 

 

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