Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (23)
| Top Critics (12)
| Fresh (20)
| Rotten (3)
On the surface, writer-director Eugène Green's film "La Sapienza" is slow, strange and awkward - but stick with it and it may win you over.
The Sapience juxtaposes insights on how people are emotionally connected with ruminations on the buildings and spaces through which they move, in which they live and, in Alexandre's case, which they also create.
A beautiful space for people and light.
This kind of formalism needs to do more than walk through classical wonders. It should want to create cinema that can stand near or beside them. This movie defensively consecrates what's already there. You don't need a film to do that.
An exquisite rumination on life, love and art that tickles the heart and mind in equal measure.
Green's richly textured, painterly images fuse with the story to evoke the essence of humane urbanity and the relationships that it fosters, whether educational, familial, or erotic.
If architecture aspires to the condition of music, the acting in La Sapienza aspires to the condition of architecture. You will love the ending of this very original and elegant and arty work.
This startling architectural juxtaposition feels like a wake-up call.
While Green's film is dense with historical fact and theory, it's not averse to plumbing life's mysteries. Suffused with warmth, it expresses a potent admiration for human striving and accomplishment.
The uncomplicated narrative resists stylization; Green's presentation turns everyone into mannequins, rendering their emotions theoretical. That may well be his point, but it didn't work for me.
Layered with reels of swirling shots of Rome's most beautiful buildings -- all crucially shot from the ground upwards, staring at the heavens-- La Sapienza is visually stunning.
If you can groove into this non-realistic mode, the film casts a spell.
Moving at a leaden pace, over-intellectualized and stiff in style, La Sapienza recoils from the compelling story at its core--husband and wife each meet an unlikely younger friend and maybe refresh their own relationship as a result--and it strangles the life out of the character relationships, moving at a leaden pace for the first hour until it finally suggests a reason for this. I'm not against slow, considered films (I quite liked Museum Hours, for example), but this one didn't do it for me.
Despite any number of professional accolades, Alexandre(Fabrizio Rongione), an architect, finds his marriage with Alienor(Christelle Prot Landman) in rocky shape. So, they travel to a lake in Switzerland to spend some quality time together, trying to recapture some of the old magic. What they find instead is siblings Goffredo(Ludovico Succio) and Lavinia(Arianna Nastro). And then Alienor surprises her husband by volunteering to stay in town to look after the ailing Lavinia while Goffredo continues his architecture studies in Turin with Alexandre.
"La Sapienza" gets off to a rough start, as the movie assumes that Alexandre's sour mood is solely from his atheism, not something less existential, like say, severe constipation. Thankfully, the movie eventually recovers, allowing for an occasionally heady exploration of art, history, architecture, romance and most importantly sideburns. At the same time, the tone tends towards the deep end of the pretentiousness spectrum, sometimes unnecessarily so. And I'm still not exactly sure what this whole sapience thing was about but then I guess that's what Google is for.
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