As surely as the sun rises each and every day, even if covered by thick clouds, it brings with it new and unexpected concerns, perhaps less urgent than yesterday or the day before, but full of their own relevance. Of course, there are circumstances where we are more willing to face each of these challenges, big or small, while we are also attacked by occasions when our strengths, the most intimate ones, the very ones we thought would never leave us, disappear, and we failed miserably. We retreat to an isolated place where there is always someone watching over us and believe that the spirit at any time is able to make everything that was dead to renew itself and come back to life, even if we do not know – and do not want to – accept changes, even those that cry out to come to the surface, emerging from the deepest and darkest part of our essence. To delegate these perils, which are so ours, to any savior, is one of the errors of human nature, perhaps the greatest, the only one which can really obliterate us without any illusion of pity.
Some of the obstacles to life in society come in the form of carefully crafted metaphors in “Waiting for the Barbarians” (2019), a clear speech in defense of democracy and individual liberties, although it should be noted that it is never possible to make this gear spin. so simple. Colombian Ciro Guerra relies on the text of a giant to embrace the theses he considers fundamental to good understanding between people. “Waiting for the Barbarians” (1980), by the South African JM Coetzee, Nobel Prize in Literature in 2003, deals with the totalitarian outburst of a powerful person in contrast to the activity of a just judge who is not intimidated by abuse and of any kind until he denounces the coup . A small guide is necessary in order not to miss something of the author’s own manuscript, a text that is undoubtedly controversial and even hermetic, but enlightening and precise in equal measure.
Mark Rylance and Johnny Depp are on opposite sides of a silent battle. The judge played by Rylance, responsible for the management of a colony in the United Kingdom somewhere that could be in Africa or Oceania, is surprised by the visit of Colonel Joll de Depp, stylish and perhaps wearing his best costume. He is almost unrecognizable in the skin of this would-be tyrant, providentially covered in the black uniform of the British Army, apart from, of course, the sunglasses that would make Top Hat (1908-1980) or Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) envious — “they must protect the clarity and keep the skin wrinkle-free,” the colonel explains to Rylance’s character, who is half amazed and half dazzled. Facilities from one side to the other are still little understood, but they will soon end; Joll was sent by the monarch to learn about the methods of the judge, who is suspected of being overly lenient towards the nomads, the titular barbarians, a warlike people but with whom the judge has a good relationship. However, this honeymoon is about to be interrupted, thanks to the non-humanist worldview of the high official, who is willing to resort to moral lynchings and physical torture to achieve what he wants: to maintain the domain of the area and political hegemony over the barbarians who clashes with the peaceful method adopted until then.
The judge’s esteem for this brave and needy people first becomes a cause for scorn, soon accompanied by episodes of unbridled violence when the judge takes pity on the unknown woman who knocks on his door. The barbarian girl played by Gana Bayarsaikhan – in clear evolution from the gynoid in “Ex Machina: Artificial Instinct” (2014), brought to the screen by Alex Garland -, blinded by abuses committed by the soldiers of the Empire, escapes from begging with the help of the main character, and a romance is insinuated between the two. Nothing extrapolates the merely platonic, a delicacy of Coetzee’s text that Guerra insists on highlighting, even as the subaltern played by Robert Pattinson doubles the hostility towards this philanthropist who never regrets his useless kindness at a time when only war has value .
Movie: Waiting for the Barbarians
Direction: Ciro Guerra
Genres: Drama / Action