This is a perfect, imperfect film.
Like Russell’s paradox.
And I hope director Lisa Langseth won’t go all Frege on me and jump out a window.
I have spoiled nothing.
And my words are almost completely inconsequential.
But similar things have been said about La Règle du jeu.
And I disagree with that.
In 1939, Jean Renoir made an unqualified (perfect) masterpiece with that film.
I qualified it only to distinguish from my initial example.
And so Pure (the title of this Swedish film which is currently on Netflix in the U.S.) is much like Asia Argento’s almost-masterpiece Incompresa.
I will be quite blunt.
Lisa Langseth stretches in almost the exact same dimension that Argento did with her fine film.
But the real similarity is acting perfection.
For a young child, Giulia Salerno was magnificent (really!) in Argento’s film.
And so Ms. Argento had the secret weapon.
A (very young) actress capable of cine-magic.
Ms. Langseth was blessed with more-or-less the same thing.
But even better.
[perhaps because the actress was a little older and more experienced]
Alicia Vikander makes Till det som är vackert go.
I mean, really…this is an acting performance unlike any other.
And so my only gripe with Ms. Langseth, the director, is that she stretched the story TOO FAR.
But that’s ok.
Because, you know what? Maybe I’m wrong.
Langseth and Argento both seem to be trying to tell every story they’ve ever lived…IN ONE FILM.
Argento is the guiltier party.
For most of Pure, Langseth sticks to a taut plot.
Buttressed by Vikander’s exquisite acting, the sum total is ecstasy.
And so, I find myself reacting against the Hitchcock tendency in two films.
Some directors NEED a good dose of Hitchcock.
Wes Anderson, for example.
That guy is so saccharine…that when the fingers come off in Grand Budapest, we finally have a filmmaker.
But Langseth and Argento are telling GRUELING stories throughout (in Pure and Misunderstood, respectively).
And so the heavy bass note…the one which when slammed births the 9th harmonic…it doesn’t work here.
Because the tritone.
To progress through the harmonic series.
And resolve on a tritone.
It takes a special auteur to do such.
And these two ladies are not the dodecaphonists to do so.
They have not worked out a coherent system to justify their heart-ripping atonality.
But fear not.
Pure is so, so, so worth watching!
This is as close as a film can get to masterpiece while still being flawed.
And it’s so very close, I’m wondering whether the flawed one is me.
Let me correct the record (ouch…David “Scumbag” Brock)…
We get noodles with ketchup.
I mean, this film is Gummo real.
So I want to give some BIG compliments.
Till det som är vackert is the best Swedish film ever made by anyone not named Ingmar Bergman.
In fact, it’s BETTER than several of Bergman’s films.
Shall I name names?
Pure is worlds (WORLDS) better than Fanny and Alexander.
Bergman was in poseur mode.
That flick is so overrated.
And Lisa Langseth totally smokes (eats the lunch of) Bergman.
Further, Till det som är vackert is (in my humble, masculine opinion) the greatest feminist film since 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days…and in some ways EVEN BETTER than that timeless masterpiece.
And so, in general, I bow down in worship to Pure.
We have homelessness.
We have mental illness.
We have resilience.
Naturalism. Grit. The bird-soul of music…
The only thing we needed was an editor.
About 20 minutes before the end.
Because Ms. Langseth wants to give us redemption.
She just seems to have her Raskolnikov in the wrong pocket.
I’m the daftest son of a bitch on the planet.
One last thing…
This movie moved me so much.
The bulk of this film.
Did something to me.
And sublimely enlightening.
And so I thank God for Lisa Langseth and Alicia Vikander.
God bless you.
Thank you for making this kind of art.
As Nick Cave sang,
“It’s beauty that’s gonna save the world now”.
Great line: “The only thing we needed was an editor. To say. Cut. About 20 minutes before the end.”
Many films (and especially novels) would be better if they were shorter. On the other hand, other films can be improved with length, e.g., Kingdom of Heaven. It takes wisdom to know the difference. I’m sure it is painful to have to cut certain scenes.