Lamb is one of the most talked about films of the year, but it hides very little underneath

Lamb is one of the most talked about films of the year, but it hides very little underneath

Lamb is one of the most talked about films of the year

There is nothing more disturbing than what resembles us only up to a certain point, which is human in many respects but in fact is not completely human. What we literally call inhumane is what disturbs us the most. On this side Lamb, who makes an impossible birth happen to the Icelandic couple of parents with a difficult smile, an isolated life and an easy tragedy (a daughter was born but died). We understand that it is impossible from how the arrival of something in the barn where, the next day, an undisturbed sheep gave birth to a puppy to which the two manifest suspicious attachment, resumed. It will take a good portion of the film to show us that that lamb is actually a little girl with a human body, but with a lamb's head and arm.

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Like much of this film that basks in its distance and detachment, the lamb is there to disturb and attract, it is obviously the simulacrum of the little girl lost by the two and the fetish that it replaces but, as the years go by, it also becomes more and more something real, dressed like a little girl stays with her parents, she seems more and more to become human. In this debut by Valdimar Jóhannsson we are therefore led to fill the entire path from repulsion to acceptance, scared and disgusted by the inhuman, slowly as the scenes of ordinary everyday life show him to us in common operations and moments we end up adopting him as a character. . The lamb never speaks, but we begin to transfer feelings, emotions and sensations onto him. All while in the very isolated house in the Icelandic countryside various family issues erupt, from the reckless brother of the mother (Noomi Rapace), to the mother-sheep, up to the final appearance.

Everything in Lamb is imagined as the moor that hosts the events: cold and inhospitable for the viewer. There is no great desire to involve and tell, rather it is precisely the way in which the film retains information, does not say and waits before revealing a detail that characterizes it. We are not explained or made to guess what the two protagonists do, what they think or what they want, everything is designed to be hidden, to be distant and to increase the aura of particularity of a film that thrives on its marketing. Lamb promotes himself even while watching, it's a constant cross-reference, like a long trailer for a film that never starts. And its promotion promises intellectual and original cinema, sophisticated and festival-like, intense and full of hidden meanings. Even where they are not.

Although Lamb presents itself as a well-made, correct and in a certain sense (very vague) also interesting film, its most evident component is the desire to smuggle himself for the maximum of the intellectual through the proposal of a paradoxical story, not unlike one of the films that characterized the last year, Titane (which nevertheless has a lot to say and its strangeness can make meaning), or other similar and American examples as Hereditary (just to quote a recent horror with similar traits, but capable of really moving something) or again as the father of fantastic and modern intellectual cinema, Let me in. With his original inspiration and his creation between the digital, the artisan and the human to generate a mystery and a sufficiently morbid attraction, Lamb could really speak of much more than the mere acceptance of the different. Except that he doesn't seem to know where to start.

Hermeticism is never justified by a final reward (even an intellectual one), the distance from the characters is never balanced by the story of a world in which that kind of relationships characterize the human condition. There is never a real reason for the presence of what are the salient features of this film, or at least there is not one that is not building a charm that soon turns out to be empty. In this game of reference and the promise that will not be kept, if nothing else, Noomi Rapace fits perfectly, an actress whose style is based on minimalism, who always seeks the greatest possible economy of expressions to get to where others would go with great recitative expenditure. For her, less is always more, and in Lamb she tries to stage many nuances of the restrained and painful expression, angry with life for what has happened to her but also gradually more and more open to the idea of ​​starting over.

An ending that would like to give satisfaction in a certain sense and paradoxically some answers to an absurd event, whose very absurdity up to that moment had held up the whole film and had been the starting point, will only open other questions . But not just questions about the plot, the world in which the film is set and what will happen after it ends, but questions about how someone came up with that it might be a sensible ending.

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