Jessica Hausner has been demonstrating a peculiar voice for twenty years in the cinema more related to festivals and theaters that bet on more independent titles. Gijón, the D’A Film Festival itself and Seville, above all, have seen the evolution of the Austrian filmmaker in first person. Now, with ‘Little Joe’, we can all see how fabulous he is.
We have to talk about plants
Written together with his regular collaborator, Géraldine Bajard, the new Hausner film is another example of his taste for staging and unhealthy atmospheres, but as he approaches the most paranoid fantasy without reckoning, the experience is gratifying. And it is that, although everything we see here is quite familiar to amateurs, its surgical precision and its passive-aggressive development magnify its small proposal of terror and science fiction.
Emily Beecham and Ben Whishaw form the most disturbing starring couple of the season, to which must be added the young Kit Connor, seen in ‘Dark Matter’ or ‘Rocketman’, providing an extra dose of bad vibes. Martin Gschlacht’s photography is an outstanding protagonist in a story full of small multicolored details. In addition, Erik Mischijew and Matz Müller create a shocking sound design full of bad vibes that, like the rest of the work, will be liked or rejected. There will be no middle ground with it.
But there is also a slight black humor fragrance hovering over the ‘Little Joe’ vibe, one of those that gives you a second of relief to relax your muscles. Little Joe refers to the plant created in a laboratory, but also to the son and in some way the common thread of a plot that draws from somewhat exhausted sources and that will continue to function over the years. I will not mention them so that you try to enjoy the proposal as much as possible.
The scent of happiness
Alice, a separated mother, works in a company specialized in the development of new plant species. From there he will create a new type that will captivate both for its beauty and for its therapeutic interest. With the right temperature, the right diet and if we talk about it regularly, the plant makes its owner happy through the release of oxytocin.
‘Little Joe’ is fully successful in its mix of references, embracing classics of literature and genre cinema of yesterday and also not so long ago, but always from the elegance of a prodigious staging. So, in reality, we have a completely realistic mad doctors film, shielded by the unstoppable marketing that moves the world. Well, maybe not so much today, but you understand me.
Emotional loss and seeming non-existent normality, basically what could be any Monday at work, is the benchmark of a film calculated with all the coldness in the world to be narrated with skill and calm. Almost from the point of view of one of those plants that become authentic steals scenes from the film. Elegant science fiction for palates fond of powerful aesthetics.