La Chimera (2023)
May 14, 2024 8:50 PM - Subscribe

Just out of jail, crumpled English archaeologist Arthur reconnects with his wayward crew of tombaroli — happy-go-lucky grave-robbers — as well as the family of his lover.

With Isabella Rossellini. RT: 94/70, 130 minutes, Italian language.
posted by fleacircus (3 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I liked this movie. I haven't seen any other Alice Rohrwacher but I'll have to check out Happy as Lazzaro now.

Here is what I wrote about it on another site, if I may be forgiven for just copy-pasting myself:
Saw LA CHIMERA (2023). It’s about an English archaeologist who can divine Etruscan burial sites, and he employs this skill for his gang of merry scumbag tomb robbers. He’s a broken husk of a person, just out of prison, pining for his dead red-haired lover.

I read a blurb before viewing, that said it’s magical realism, and he finds the door to the underworld to go fetch his dead lover. I was like okay now I’m sold. But thats a very symbolic reading lol. I was disappointed but enjoyed what I saw anyway. The film is much closer to a naturalistic story with some sprinkles of cinematic magic here and there, a little more concerned with being watchable fun sad whimsical rustic funny than mysterious mythical profound.

It’s not Orpheus/Eurydice, not like portrait of a lady on fire was. I don’t think that reading fits very well. Yes, he dreams of his dead gf and goes underground and finds a goddess, so it’s right there! But I think it’s an interpretive dead end. The movie shows its depths imho.
By "shows its depths" I guess I mean like: when Arthur is pondering the horrible machine of the stolen antiquities market, it cuts to him pondering the hissing churning engine for a second lol.

This movie also made me feel a wave of appreciation Isabella Rossellini. Her role is small but her eyeballs sure can act. I also really like her mass of daughters who are differentiated and natural enough for it to feel real, but... just a little tiny half-inch into unreal.
posted by fleacircus at 2:28 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Loved this. So touching and fun, with really enjoyable direction. The moment on the train with the ghosts is extraordinary. I have many friends who are archaeologists and curators and they can’t stop talking about this movie.
posted by adrianhon at 2:55 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Just saw this at a rep theatre (Carlton Cinema) in Toronto with a friend and also loved it; I knew nothing going in, except the title, and it was wonderful to watch it unfold with no idea what was going on or what to expect.

I didn't recognize Rossellini at first (my friend did), and she is terrific; she disappears into the role and owns the screen whenever she's on it.

This is a movie that I think I'm going to have to watch again, not only to better understand the plot but also to appreciate some of the magical-realism nuances a bit more (like trains; the movie starts in I'd guess a 1950s-era train carriage; the 2/3 mark is a dream sequence but on a very modern 2000s train; his friends, on waking, are in what looks like a train from the 1970s).

I don't make a lot of time for 'timeless' movies -- I tend to watch shlock -- but I'm very happy I saw this.
posted by Shepherd at 5:27 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]

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