REVIEW – Genova (2008)

Videovista has my review of Michael Winterbottom’s Genova.

I was not entirely convinced by the film and I thought its ending was a real betrayal of the film’s otherwise interesting concept (family drifts apart after death of mother).  It was interesting to watch and write about the film immediately after Pialat’s Nous Ne Vieillirons Pas Ensemble as I think Pialat and Winterbottom depict their relationships in ways that are diametrically opposed : Pialat gives us the spectacular views in a mundane setting while Winterbottom gives us the trips to the supermarket in an exotic and alienating landscape.


  1. My main problem with this film was its inability to settle and actually stage a scene. The direction was completely elliptical, and the camera was always shaking about, that settling into the film was nigh on impossible. It’s a problem I’ve often had with a lot of Winterbottom’s films. They too often feel like rush jobs, interesting but far too scattergun to ever land an emotional or intellectual punch. Only a few moments in Genova actually became fluid cinema, which was a shame as the performances and script were strong.


  2. I took that to be a stylistic quirk rather than a failing. For example, Cloverfield tried to do the video-camera thing but every shot was properly framed and everything was in focus. Winterbottom’s camera-work is much better at capturing fleeting moments and stringing them together. I quite liked the look of the thing.

    I agree that it denies Winterbottom the ability to create properly cinematic sequences where the images really augment what’s going on with the characters. There’s the bit towards the end where the little girl tries to find her way home that was very effective, as was the father’s desperate trek through the hills, but some sequences (such as the moped-backed ride through the city) fell a little flat.

    I don’t know… I thought the cinematography created a sense of displacement and alienation that was quite neat, if not particularly fine-grained.


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