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

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 best: a full Magimel and an overwhelming ability to create dense and bizarre atmospheres.

    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



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