Cosmos ★½

”The sun shines on high noon and impossible to stare at. The heart far from itself beats and it is impossible to ear”

Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival #7

My seventh entry at the Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival also proved to be the worst one too. Andrzej Żuławski’s latest feature, as a matter of fact his first feature in fifteen years, had its national premiere at the festival which is of no surprise since the festival’s mastermind Paulo Branco, is the producer of the film. With him Branco brought Żuławski as well as some of the cast members, the cinematographer and even the costume designer; it was fantastic see the all of the movie’s stars present. Żuławski gave a short but witty speech as he proved to be a much more playful personality than what you would initially imagine. In it he pointed out how grateful he was for the fact that nearly five hundred people appeared for this screening, but most importantly he made it clear that this would not be an ordinary flick.
*By the way, the cinematographer of the film André Szankowski, sat through the film’s projection and he sat just a couple of sits next to me!

Sadly the film itself wasn’t as exciting as the people who were in it made it believe. I cannot share the same enthusiasm as the performers had. Cosmos albeit shot in Portugal and partially made with Portuguese actors and thus close to home in that sense, could not have affected any less than what it did, I couldn’t have left the theater any colder or more indifferent. Here we have a film that not only failed to resonate and strike me, but worst, a movie that couldn’t even entertain me in the slightest. This is obviously due to Cosmos’ incomprehensible plot that’s utterly and completely beyond understanding. As I left the theater I did not know what I had experienced, I wouldn’t have been able to describe you what this picture was about.

Andrzej Żuławski’s style is everything but commercial. I haven’t seen many of the man’s films but the truth is that he seems to plunge into a level of “avant-gardeness” that scratches pretentiousness. Just like Possession, his latest feature is an extremely hard watch as both are led by a manic, bat-shit crazy, hyper-agitated plots that are senseless. But to its favor at least, Possession was gifted with a strong dreary atmosphere that made things a bit interesting and involving at times, whilst Cosmos is quite simply just a big fucking confusing dull of a mess.

I found it extremely hard to follow the film’s narrative; as a matter of fact I found it hard to locate the picture’s story. Where is it? Is there even one? I and the rest of the audience sat restless, looking at the giant screen, hopeless in search of meaning and sense but those we could not find. I don’t know if it is the novella which this is based upon that is puzzling and unclear or if it is the movie’s script that is a big fucking disaster. Either way things just don’t work out. I truthfully couldn’t summary to you what I witnessed throughout these long, endless one hundred minutes.

Some have described this as a satire and a comedy which is surprising since there were no laughs and I do mean not one laughed throughout the entire feature. Let me remind you that the theater was nearly full and probably five hundred people were at this screening. Now again I say, not-a-single-laugh. The audience rested impatient as I could see the figures upon me moving on their seats agitatedly; this because the audience was bored and eager to see the Cosmos’ credits. I too felt that way as I nearly did a Ioga class in my seat.

I detested this film; I am actually proud of myself for not leaving the theater. A film with a narrative line as fucked and disengaged as this one cannot work. Cosmos’ was badly faltered by its weak, undercooked script which is a shame since the other people involved deliver. The actors, just like the actors in Possession, give it their all as their transpiration and commitment are evident. But even the actor’s dedication and some fine cinematography I must add, enhanced little to nothing. As a whole Cosmos proves to be little more than a lackluster, humdrum, incomprehensible, uninvolving experience that requires much investment but pays back little.

Rating: D

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