La Presse at the 79th Venice Film Festival | A second Golden Lion for Darren Aronofsky?

By reading the play by Samuel D. Hunter entitled ” The whale, Darren Aronofsky brilliantly accepted his bet. Brendan Fraser’s poignant performance has already garnered awards rumors, but the actor prefers to take things one day at a time…

Posted yesterday at 8am

Marc Andre Lussier

Marc Andre Lussier
The press

So far the competition is proving to be really good and nobody could have guessed what the jury, chaired by Julianne Moore, will be guiding in determining the winners next Saturday. But the fact of the matter is that at a simple epidermal level, no candidate for the Golden Lion has aroused as many emotions as he has The whale. Regular guest at Mostra, winner of the 2008 Golden Lion thanks The wrestler, Darren Aronofsky could well repeat this feat. His new film is a great success.

In addition to the performances of the actors, including the exception of Brendan Fraser (“Give him the Oscar!”, read on social networks), the feat lies above all in this way, which Aronofsky had supported throughout his life Accomplice Matthew Libatique in the cinematic direction to bring a cinematic object from an eminently theatrical piece to the start. Although the theatrical origin remains evident in the script’s dramatic construction and there is only one shot, The whale is a real cinematic proposal.

A square screen

First there is the frame. Square. As if to delimit the limited space in which the protagonist must develop without being able to leave home. This frame also evokes the sense of suffocation felt by a man suffering from morbid obesity, whose mobility is limited, and who is the prisoner of an overly heavy body.


Brendan Fraser is the headliner of The whalea film by Darren Aronofsky.

English teacher and literature fanatic (one of his favorite stories is Moby Dick, to which the film’s title refers), Charlie (Fraser) teaches his classes virtually to students who never see him. There are only four people in his entourage in his lifetime: his best friend, nurse-turned-carer (Hong Chau), a young visiting evangelist (Ty Simpkins), his ex-wife (Samantha Morton), and most importantly, Ellie, his 17- year-old daughter (Sadie Sink), whom he has not seen in several years. The latter has resumed contact, essentially to settle bills.

The last act of the film, in which the story reaches an unusual level of emotionality, takes place in the presence of Charlie and Ellie. During the presentation for the press, no eyes remained dry at the exit…

During a press conference on Sunday, Darren Aronofsky explained that he wants to wear it The whale on screen reading a review of the play published in the New York Times. “However, I had to wait 10 years before I was able to realize the project. Mainly because it was difficult to find an actor to play Charlie. I thought of everyone, actors of all kinds, big stars, but the spark never came. Then, a few years ago, I came across a trailer for a Brazilian indie film that starred Brendan, and it kind of lit up right away. I arranged a reading between Brendan and Sadie and the chills started as soon as these two started playing together. »


Sadie Sink on the red carpet of The whaleSunday

The filmmaker also points out that during this time of cynicism, Charlie’s vision of the world, steeped in hope and love, becomes essential.

“That’s the most important message to convey in today’s world,” adds the filmmaker. Everyone becomes cynical and gives up hope. We don’t need that right now. Rather, we must tell ourselves that we must take care of each other. »

live in the moment

Brendan Fraser, whose speeches received multiple acclaim during the press conference, has no career plan that would bring him recognition for the role.

“I saw it as a great opportunity to get into another man’s physique and the inner story he carries with him. I don’t know of any actor among my peers who wouldn’t want to work with Darren. »

As for the awards rumors already circulating around him, the actor who was a major Hollywood star in his day The Mummy and from George from the jungleShe wants to put things into perspective.

“My crystal ball isn’t working and I want to live in the moment. My goal is to play as many characters as possible. Above all, I’m curious to see if this film will make as strong an impression on people as it did on me. »

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