July 20, 2022

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Official Competition Movie Review| Why Comedy Movies Get Bad Ratings?

Official Competition

Official Competition

Official Competition: With a title like “Official Competition,” the new film by Argentine team Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn eloquently declared its destiny:

Official Competition” in Their Official Competition?

Duprat and Cohn’s droll, dippy insider comedy elegantly completes the last of its many, many in-jokes by premiering in this manner: whatever life the film has beyond the festival circuit, it will never again play to such a carefully targeted audience.

It remains to be seen how amused audiences outside of the film’s satirical crosshairs will be by “Official Competition.” The film will undoubtedly elicit dark laughs of identification from industry insiders as it follows the tumultuous pre-production process of an art-house film being made for cynical commercial motives.

After being drawn in by big, brash, colorfully farcical performances from Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas — finally headlining a film together for the first time.

Official Competition
Official Competition

Which grants a kind of event status (as well as a major international selling point) to this likable bagatelle — perhaps civilians will appreciate its puncturing of the privileged artist class’s egos and pretensions.

The Plot of the Film

The film begins with some of its most brutal digs, as we observe the joyless aftermath of billionaire business mogul Humberto Suárez’s (José Luis Gómez) 80th birthday extravaganza, a freeze-dried husk of a man suddenly anxious that he hasn’t left the world anything of permanent significance.

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He wonders what he may spend money on that will help him maintain his legacy. After considering having a bridge named after him, he decides, comically, to bankroll a film – hardly the most likely way to make a reputation for himself, but hey, it’s his money.

Of Course, Suárez Has No Knowledge of or Interest in Film!

And he hasn’t read the novel — a turgid-sounding family epic about fighting brothers — to which he (or rather, his long-suffering assistant) gets the rights at great expense.

Official Competition
Official Competition

All that matters is that it’s important and acclaimed; for the same reason, he hires esoteric, avant-garde filmmaker Lola Cuevas (Cruz), even though her esoteric, avant-garde sensibility (her previous films are aptly titled “Haze” and “The Inverted Rain”) isn’t best suited to a prestige literary adaptation.

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He allows her complete creative control over the lead roles, as long as they are “the best.” Lola casts Felix Rivero (Banderas), a dim international movie star who works primarily in the mainstream, and Ivan Torres (Oscar Martnez).

A well-regarded but more snootily refined stage actor, in the hopes that their differences will add interesting tension to the picture.

She’s probably more correct than she anticipated. The enmity between Felix and Ivan is palpable as the three convene for a nine-day rehearsal session that is essential to Lola’s method. This is exacerbated by the progressively ludicrous exercises to which she puts them, which mimic a corporate bonding workshop concocted by Luis Bunuel.

Through My Films – I Suffer a Lot!

Lola says, and she demands the same from her partners. This sadomasochistic streak unites the men in their mutual hatred of their director, never more savagely than when she handcuffs them to their seats and forces them to watch as she shreds their different acting awards.

(They include Martnez’s own Venice Best Actor award for Duprat and Cohn’s previous picture, “The Distinguished Citizen,” in a characteristically sarcastic nod to a knowing audience.)

Lola’s lunacy has a method – the men do get more emotionally expressive as the days pass — but she may have gone too far: As various acts of vengeance unfold, it becomes increasingly difficult to envision this hysterical trio ever making a film together.

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Cruz is having a good time mocking the ivory-tower vanities and mannerisms of the prolific auteurs she’s worked with over the years, thanks to the poodle-sized perm put on her head.

Though she doesn’t make Lola a full cartoon, it’s a performance of fizzy, frenetic, physically elastic inventiveness: there’s genuine truth to her silly artistic aims, even in such trying and compromised circumstances, that is sympathetic through it all.

Meanwhile, the two male characters are united in self-parody, though Martnez tends to underplay Banderas’ magnificent preening — an unpleasant self-portrait that will almost certainly win the most chuckles from industry insiders and outsiders alike.

Official Competition” Overstays Its Welcome

Meanwhile, viewers from both camps are likely to agree that “Official Competition” overstays its welcome at over two hours, providing less constant humor than a quick 90-minute cut of the same absurd material.

Perhaps that exaggerated heaviness, together with the unexpected formal grandeur of this ultimately little undertaking, is part of the joke.

Official Competition
Official Competition

Alain Bainée’s stunning, borderline-surreal production design frequently strands the actors in enormous deserts of modernist beauty; Arnau Valls Colomer’s tricksy cinematography surprises with its hyper-mannered, carefully asymmetrical compositions.

So much of “Official Competition” is deliberately fashioned as art for the sake of art — though if we learn anything from its characters’ exploits, it’s that art can be made for far worse reasons.

There are numerous high-rated comedy films, thus it isn’t necessarily the case that all humor films are low-rated.

Critics, in my opinion, are people who have little knowledge of filmmaking but comment on it, so I don’t pay them any attention.

We don’t mean all of them, just the majority of them.

We believe there is a preconception that drama/serious subject matter is more difficult to make because it isn’t entertaining to watch and can be challenging at times.

Of course, it’s nonsense. It’s a lot easier to write a scene that will make someone cry than it is to write one that would make them laugh.

It’s an incorrect assumption that, unfortunately, leads to an incredibly unjust quality rating system.

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