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The Lighthouse (15)
28th February 2020 - 4th March 2020
Shot in shimmering 35mm black and white, this psychological horror tale features bravura performances from Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
Sometime in the 1890s, two lighthouse keepers start their shift on a remote and mysterious New England island. At loggerheads from the very beginning, in the midst of profound solitude, they begin to lose their minds. Director Robert Eggers is the visionary filmmaker behind modern horror masterpiece The Witch, and the stylistic devices he uses, a daring and intense aspect ratio and an atmospheric, claustrophobic soundscape of crashing waves and shrieking gulls, heighten the unremitting power of this distinctive and immersive drama.
Director: Robert Eggers
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson, Valeriia Karaman
US/Canada/Brazil, 2010, 1 hour 49 minutes
Nominated for Cinematography BAFTA 2020
To see the full Borderlines 2020 schedule, please click HERE.
Film Notes Here: The Lighthouse
You go to Malvern and you get marvels--wonderful cinema, dazzling solo performers in the Forum and memorable theatre.
The latest flood of miracles has included Kander and Ebbs musical "Cabaret", Noel Coward's gorgeous comedy "Blithe Spirit", Tango Fire" ( which left a sell-out house standing on its feet and shouting for encores)nd now the marvellous film: "The Lighthouse" which certainly leaves the recent Oscar winner
"Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" firmly in the shade.
If ever any film deserved a handful of Oscars for its acting, direction and script, then this is the one.
Coming into Malvern as part of the Borderlines Film Festival 2020, "The Lighthouse" ( a film by the gifted director Robert Eggers) is a psychological horror
story presented appropriately by Eggers in black and white , something which considerably heightens the film's serious nature.
Set in 19th century America on a small and strangely eerie New England island, small enough to be uninhabited, but large enough to carry a lighthouse, the film is a two-hander featuring Willem Dafoe, (currently enjoying a well-deserved career renaissance)as Thomas Wake, the sadistic lighthouse keeper, and Robert Pattinson as Ephraim
Winslow his assistant, a man who comes from a preferred nowhere, preferring to describe himself as a woodsman.
Dafoe's career has long been a gilded one, but Pattinson moves on from the "Twilight" franchise as the pretty-boy vampire via other unremarkable movies to "The Lighthouse"
where he turns in an acting performance which is good enough to put him in the upper echelons of film performers and should certainly get him an Oscar nomination. If
Leonardo DiCaprio could do it by crawling inside a dead horse, Pattinson , who has finally found a film to showcase his acting talent , should certainly be able to achieve it with one of the most subtle and beautifully shaped performances you are likely to witness this year.
Eggers shapes this extraordinary story into a Gothic horror drama with succeeding guignol elements which set your hair on end. Occasionally a colour is used which suggests the brownish tinge of old photographs to great effect. As Winslow stumbles along a cliff edge with his wheel barrow, he moves into silhouette. The gale whips his body and he movesEggers slowly as though hope is leaving him numb and ineffectual, it could be a photograph we see.
Cut from the tormented man losing hope, to Wake regaling his companion over a tacky, drunken supper, with old sea-faring yarns of anarchy he has known on board the old four-masters sailing around Cape Horn, the huge whales, the crews that killed them and the Great Whites that ruled the deep and, destroyed the whaling parties and their puny harpoons, with a flick of his tail , thus reminding us again and again of Herman Melville,the 19th century American author, (with his 'Spanish eyes') who described the filth and roguery he found at sea in his novels"Moby Dick", "Omee" and "Typee".
In the shadowy house near the lighthouse itself, where the wind howls and the sea wrack beats at the window, Wake and Winslow occasionally find a momentary drunken affection when they dance together and Pattinson's eyes gaze out from Wake's shoulder with a poignant longing for happier days. But this madness, the night visions, the rages and the sadism will never cease. When Wake destroys the only rowing boat which conveys them to land, food and drink begin to fail, and they are reduced finally to drinking paraffin which leads to madness and a final act of violence.
In a trivial cinematic age, defined by films of urban violence, superficial relationships or flimsy re-makes of classical successes, it is reassuring to note that with "The Lighthouse" Egger has brought back the qualities we associate with the great age of the cinema and for that we must applaud his genius.