Categories: Reviews

Criticism of ‘Pacifiction’, the slow cinema of Albert Serra

Albert Serra takes us to the island of Tahiti, in French Polynesia, where the High Commissioner of the Republic is a calculating man with impeccable manners.

    In another fundamental meditation on the dynamics of power, on its mannerisms and its staging, Pacificion becomes the perfect counter-shot to The death of Louis XIV. If in that one the Sun King was dying in bed undaunted, his gangrenous forces in a murmured soliloquy while the court stirred around him, here a high official of the French State in Tahiti does not stop moving, as if in his comings and goings he was trying to conjure a space mantra that can neutralize the dark forces of the system. In a no man’s land where he allows himself to be trapped by the sinister gazes of the upper echelons and the revolutionary strategies of the indigenous people, a splendid Benoît Magimel, always dressed in a white linen suit as if he had escaped from a novel by Graham Greene or Malcolm Lowry moves with a singular gift of ubiquity, like an automaton that teleports through a sweaty, dense and exotic space, looking for an adventure that will eventually engulf it.

    Pacificion It is both a character study and an atmospheric film, in which Albert Serra manages to imbue us with the heat, the indolence, but also the danger, of Tahiti. It is also a political film, a fiction that warns us of the secret validity of post-colonial tactics; there is the intrigue that circulates throughout the footage: the possibility that the nuclear tests on the island will be reactivated after 20 years of peace integrated into a conspiracy capitalism, atrociously sectarian. But the most admirable thing is how Albert Serra uses the poetics of slow cinema to strip his film of all realism and lead it towards a certain abstraction, which coincides with the progressive dissolution of his antiheroalready turned into another Louis XIV, now locked up in that palace in the form of a decadent nightclub that reminds us so much of Club Silencio in Mulholland Drive. Serra thus turns what seems to be his most narrative film into a walk through purgatory, before the apocalypse sweeps away our lost paradises.

    For those who believe that there is no peace for humans

    The worst: those who think that it is the most narrative of Serrase’s films will also find its usual harshness.


    Address: Albert Serra Interpreters: Benoît Magimel, Pahoa Mahagafanau, Marc Susini, Matahi Pambrun, Alexandre Mello, Sergi López Country: France Year: 2022 Release date: 02–09-2022 Gender: Drama Script: Albert Serra Duration: 165 minutes

    Synopsis: On the island of Tahiti, in French Polynesia, the High Commissioner of the Republic, De Roller, representative of the French State, is a calculating man with impeccable manners. Whether at official receptions or in illegal establishments, he does not fail to take the pulse of a local population whose wrath can be aroused at any moment. And even more so when a rumor settles: a submarine seems to have been sighted, whose ghostly presence could herald a resumption of French nuclear tests.

    Source: Fotogramas