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Pacifiction 15

Albert Serra, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, 2022, 162m.

French High Commissioner De Roller travels around Tahiti in his cream suit, attending various engagements where he is always mediating, always performing. In every encounter, whether with indigenous dancers, local politicians or fellow expats, his sense of colonialist entitlement is ever-present. Though there is never an obvious moment of violence or drama, an implicit tension permeates the whole film. Albert Serra (The Death of Louis XIV) is known for his distinctive and provocative style, and here he has created another original, highly saturated cinematic experience. Powered by Artur Tort’s sensuous cinematography and sublimely unhurried performances, Pacifiction is utterly engrossing. Experienced on a big screen, the contrast between the suffocating claustrophobia of De Roller’s authority and the vast, ferocious Pacific waves is overwhelming.

The Garden Cinema View:

Elegant and neon-drenched visuals frame a story of escalating neo-colonial anxiety in the vein of The Sheltering Sky, Heart of Darkness, and Under the Volcano. Benoît Magimel is unforgettable as the charismatic and Mephistophelean Commissioner De Roller, speaking in threatening riddles as he tours Tahiti, rarely stepping out of his white suit or removing his shades. Pacifiction presents a compelling, and apocalyptic vision of paradise lost; a cinematic spectacle that is in turn frustrating, beguiling, and nihilistically tempting.  

Benoît Magimel, Pahoa Mahagafanau, Marc Susini, Matahi Pambrun

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