Unnecesary proof to the world
Whether a film is a story of images meticulously or chaotically organized in accordance with various set of rules, nothing should be forced or exaggerated if it’s not in the benefit of artistic, experimental or emotional relevance. No matter the genre or the style there should be an invisible material that holds all the pieces together strongly. The scenes in “Tetro“-Francis Ford Coppola latest film seem to belong to different projects but instead of enriching the visual versatility we get a feeling of unnecessary underlined elements. The audience might be left with an overwhelming after taste but it’s because there’s too much food on a table and we’ re forced to eat all of it. Sometimes less is better and simplicity turns out to be enormously valuable. Even if it’s a baroque abundance of elements, their coordination should follow a certain path. In “Tetro” the majority of footage is shot in black and white and is combined with colorful images from the past and choreographed dance moves wrapped in some special effects. The recipe is not a bad idea it’s just that all the different layers are staying on top of each other instead of spreading around.
The story too starts to unravel slowly in the second part of the film. It’s a pity because the script is definitely interesting, Vincent Gallo is iressistible as Tetro-the troubled genius afraid to finish and expand his work. Tetro’ obnoxious mood and diva tantrums are priceless. Unfortunately after a while suddenly we observe too many mysteries revealed, abrupt turns and heavy drama. There’s no fine balance or real emotion intensity and again one might be suffocated with details or family parallels.
I appreciated Coppola’s intention to pay a tribute to Fellini and other film masters through the cinematography chosen for “Tetro” but the decision to use a digital camera is not working well in this case. The digital clarity and sharpness doesn’t match with the classic lighting with an almost theatrical touch. The director of cinematography has done an amazing job but again one might have that over the top reaction.”Tetro” is the first script of Coppola in 30 years and follows “Youth without Youth” a disappointment to me on many levels. The director felt the need to demonstrate to everybody what he’s capable of and he might have exaggerated somehow. Coppola’s importance in the film history doesn’t require a powerful proof. If it comes it’s a wonderful thing but there’s no “must” here. Frequently the film is pointing into a direction for too long with no significant reason. As one watches “Tetro” it’s clear that Coppola is a little bit insecure and under a lot of pressure-a common thing for any gifted artist. Still that should have stayed on the set instead of sneaking inside the film.