The Netflix movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, tailor-made for smart viewers

Few are privileged to be able to participate in what is truly relevant behind the scenes of art around the world, and even more special are those who understand the dimension of each step taken towards a certain trend and why. Egocentric artists, greedy gallery owners, customers eager to “consume” art, but without any reference to good taste and, of course, the critics, the pet peeves who vampirize the talent of others so as not to be able to produce anything similar, by somewhat resentful words of those who enrich themselves at the expense of the ignorance of a Boeotian elite, are some of the main elements behind the buying and selling of works of art which, often, develop much more because of the controversies they generate than because of the beauty they must cover and echo. Although he does not delve into this argument, Dan Gilroy raises the ball for the audience to cut, reaching unprecedented conclusions about what the notion of art has become and what it means to be an artist, No matter where. planet earth one is in this chaotic 21st century.

In “Velvet Buzzsaw” (2019), the maxim that all that glitters isn’t gold is surprisingly genuine, but once the intelligentsia approves of it as such, long queues erupt. form to guarantee the first frame of the newest exhibit of the coolest plastic. artist, and Gilroy alludes to the visual arts by thoughtfully reproducing a cliché – which it remains clear could be any other niche in this universe: the entrails of a theater troupe, with its famous confrontations between tyrannical directors and vain actors; the push-and-pull of a talented writer who always tries to extend the deadline for submitting a piece a little longer, drawing the ire of editors who have to deal with the sales department; a photographer outraged by the false evidence that everyone shoots beautifully thanks to the excellence of ubiquitous cellphone cameras; and a bit of all of that, raised to the power of n, when it comes to television. And he does this through intelligent satire, in which the terror grows after the sociological character of his criticism is already taken for granted, the narrative then assuming its share of explicit violence, without fear of possible judgments. This is a film to be seen from the most diverse angles, and each new perspective offers an absolutely revolutionary way of capturing what is being said. It is certainly a source of disappointment for many, while it frees many others from the prison of political correctness which, if not to say, imprisons the authentic while incense and crowns the gods of clay.

The English art critic and philosopher Roger Scruton (1944-2020) was a strong proponent of aesthetics as an instrument through which man had a chance to escape the totalitarian temptation hidden in the nature of politics . The most prestigious British thinker whose ideas went further than Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Scruton would certainly be the opposite of Morf Vandewalt, the novelist colleague of Jake Gyllenhaal. For Vandewalt, reviews serve above all to move the market, catapulting an artist to the most unreachable heights of glory with a hand-picked word for an article or crushing that same artist a few months later, entrenched in questionable concepts. , to say the least — and boosted financially, putting all the cards on the table. Provocative by nature, the brouhaha that his texts, stuffed with selective criteria, which spare his friends, that is to say those who can give him some advantage, and are particularly severe with other, mere mortals who do not share his circle, quickly become among dealers and art dealers like Rene Russo’s agent, Rhodora Haze, and his assistant, Josephina, played by Zawe Ashton. Over the sequences where the character of Gyllenhaal exercises his delirium, Gilroy punctuates the story, conducted from his own script, with a sufficiently diversified fauna of characters linked to the parallel world he scrutinizes. There’s Billy Magnussen’s editor, Bryson; Gretchen, the manager of the hippest gallery in Los Angeles played by Toni Collette; Piers, the renowned and decadent artist of John Malkovich; the young and fierce agent looking for new talent excellently played by Tom Sturridge; Damrish, the emerging artist from the deep suburbs, role of Daveed Diggs; and Coco, the secretary who quickly learns to play the game, another great performance from Natalia Dyer. Disposable people, some more, some less, in an environment that is cruel to everyone. In other words, a tragedy foretold.

Gilroy turns the key to horror in his film from a macabre event that involves Josephina, collaterally but decisively. Henceforth, and even the atmosphere of terror that predominates, a terror with touches of suspense, whose hegemony is further enhanced by the colors of Robert Elswit’s photography which, contrary to what is observed in almost all productions of the genre, never abandons warm tones and luminous textures. The dead in “Velvet Buzzsaw” are mostly shrouded in a thick haze of black humor, which keeps the audience in suspense. The mystery surrounding these murders closes in on itself, of course presenting art as the origin, Gilroy’s epiphanic trope.

Much has been said and written about the famous “function of art”. Some say that the function of art is to educate, to prepare man for the future, to inculcate in man the awareness of being part of a whole, of an organism greater than his own body, than his own family, his own circle of friends, your city, your country, who knows, hoping that he will no longer fit on the planet itself. On the other hand, many argue that the unique function of art is precisely that of being art. Art for art’s sake can be art squared and in many cases is far more productive in turning the wheel of evolution. However, the permanence and perpetuation of figures like Morf Vandewalt in this environment is a great danger, precisely because it mixes in the same basket what has value and what has only a price. Presented at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, “Velvet Buzzsaw”, loud, polluted, deliberately messy, is the perfect synthesis of what is becoming the art of our time, increasingly deprived and making Damien Hirsts millionaires on the scale. industrial.


Film: Velvet circular saw
Direction: Dan Gilroy
Year: 2019
Gender: Horror/Drama
To note: 9/10

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