Article by: Carlo Montrucchio
Translation by: Federica Betti, Ilaria Loiacono
A city where students and seagulls live happily together and where, after losing their freedom, both Jake and Mati find solace. The two main characters are Jake, a young but misfit boy who is keen on doing any job just to flee from his family impositions, and Mati, an attractive and brilliant student, afflicted however by an existential discomfort. They venture in a star-crossed love, doomed by fate.
Each chapter of the movie, named after the main characters, wants to show the new life they now have together. This life will soon fade, leaving behind a melancholic memory of an evanescent feeling, that the audience can also find in the blurry frames, immersed in neon lights and jazz rhapsodies. The impressionism and the underground atmosphere resulting from the movie, produced by Jim Jarmush, melt with Bertolucci’s echoes of purifying sex scenes of two “trapped” souls. The actors’ bodies of Lucie Lucas and Anton Yelchin (to whom the movie is dedicated, due to his untimely demise) are concrete symbols of a love destined to remain a faint memory lost in time: Mati’s fleshy lips and soft shapes are in contrast with Jake’s sinewy and oaky build, not far from the representations of Egon Schiele; in fact, the two main characters are locked in an “Embrace” and they wish it to never end. But the pretext of telling a fleeting and saving love ends up getting lost in excessive temporal shifts and protracted sex scenes, so the spectator risks to lose all the references and is pushed inside a bare apartment with candles and boxes.