8/10
BEYOND THE WORDS
18 November 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Although it is true that Le fils de Joseph presents specific features of comedy - Vincent's entanglement sneaking into his father's office, his friend's curious business, the jokes with Joseph ...-, we should not take it just as that : Green's cinema is for thinking. Among other things, because that path the only thing that leads us is to wait for two hours for the joke that never comes and to endure the disturbing gaze of some Sims who do nothing to make us like them.

In fact, a first one already justifies the initial statism of the characters who, like Vincent, find themselves empty in the absence of a father figure. In addition, the beautiful final scene makes explicit the change of the character, who cannot help but smile when he sees Joseph hug his mother, Marie. In Les fils de Joseph, Eugéne Green uses a typical plot to tell us about the mystery of things and their meaning behind the perceptible.

In this sense, Green also divides the story into five Christian-themed acts - three stories from the Old Testament and two from the Gospels. The first of them, The Sacrifice of Abraham, shows the clash between Marie -María, mother of Jesus Christ- and son, fruit of the absence of the father; in the second, El Calf de Oro, we see the egotistical and libertine character of Oscar Pormenor; in The Sacrifice of Isaac, the myth is reversed: Vincent tries to sacrifice his father; in El Carpintero, Vincent and Joseph -José, Sr.- establish father-child relationships; and in The Flight into Egypt, mother and son follow Joseph to Normandy. As we can see, Green extends the meaning to what we perceive at first.

This also carries over to the staging feature. Green, of dramaturgical origin, transfers his knowledge of the Baroque theater - see the use of candles - to the aesthetic composition of his films. In fact, the frontality of the shots and the rigidity of the actors generate a cold sensation on the surface of the shot, which has no other objective than to give special resonance to the words and the gazes of the characters. These meaningful words are called Parole, a term Green often refers to as the union of the mysterious, the sacred, and the material and real. The church singing scene is also an example. Perhaps neither of them understands Latin or knows the song - a mother's lament over the death of her child - but both are unintentionally influenced by the revealing effect of the music itself.

Therefore, it would be a sin to pigeonhole this movie simply as a Coming of age or one more "family reconciliation drama". Les fils de Joseph is a classic story embedded in a contemporary world that vindicates the importance of what words and images do not say: transcendence and the hidden. Through the game of intuition and revelation, Green conquers us with a way of understanding cinema, art and life. A revealing movie.
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