‘The horizon’: Universal cataclysm, personal collapse | Culture


Not a few films have spoken of the threat of a universal cataclysm to relate the end of a much smaller but no less relevant world: the individual, the personal. With The last wave (Peter Weir, 1977) y Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols, 2011) as possible paradigms, and with Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999) in a choral apocalyptic line, these stories were plagued with sudden hailstorms in summer, black rains, tornadoes, tsunamis, bad omens and downpours of frogs, but also mental calamities, intimate subsidence.

In The horizon, remarkable film by the Belgian Delphine Lehericey set in the summer of 1976 in the bosom of a cattle family, the animals literally die of heat. And that lack of air is also felt by a 13-year-old boy who, in the best period of the year, the holidays, the bikes and the first love, sees his universe of certainties collapse. It is the end of innocence and the discovery of the shaky future of adults.

Always from the child’s point of view, from his elusive, angry and misunderstood gaze, Lehericey films a family that collapses simply because of life: a hidden adulterous love, the gossip of small communities, the hard work, violent resentment, the encounter with complex adolescent sex. The drama erupts fiercely, among chickens that stretch their leg drowned by sweat, but contrasting with formal characteristics of exultant artistic color: a beautiful light with yellowish tones, a very special soundtrack by Nicolas Rabaeus, between electronics, abstraction and the symphonic rock of the time in which the story takes place, which at the same time gives an atmosphere of restlessness and tonal clarity.

And yet, there in the background, there is a horizon, physical and metaphorical, which in these days of contemporary royal plague acquires a superior category. A new vital stage, that of the assumption that life is not as we had been painted, that of the breeze and calm. An outcome that, turning to music again, but this time diegetic, from within, and in a radically different style, the director marks with a universal piece: the New World Symphony, de Antonín Dvorák.


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