Home Entertainment The Fabelmans delights by telling the life of Steven Spielberg (review)

The Fabelmans delights by telling the life of Steven Spielberg (review)

Imagem de: Os Fabelmans encanta ao contar a vida de Steven Spielberg (crítica)

In his five-decade career, director Steven Spielberg has carved out a special place in moviegoers’ memory. His films are often accessible to a wide audience, even when he deals with difficult topics (as in 1993’s Schindler’s List).

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In part, this is due to the welcoming and even optimistic tone that permeates his works, which tend to cross generations. It’s hard to imagine a person who has watched ET – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and who has not simultaneously been tense and moved by the familiar story told there by Spielberg, or even who has consumed the Indiana Jones series and not held his breath in several scenes and twisted by the adventurous archeologist.

But where does this “beautiful” view of life come from, even though reality is so often full of tragedy? Steven Spielberg’s newest work, The Fabelmans, which is nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, seems to bring some answers to that question. The film can be decoded as a free autobiography of the famous director that explains how his trajectory was always crossed by cinema, and that this was the way he found to “survive” the pains inherent in growing up.

Adorable, The Fabelmans is quite an opportunity for us to know a little more about the history and soul of one of the great geniuses of cinema, in addition to bringing at all times a pertinent tribute to the importance of art as a way of being in the world – which, so many times, it’s so hard that the only way to bear it is to escape.

A family like any other?

In The Fabelmans, we follow the story of a Jewish family in New Jersey. One day, they go to the cinema to watch The Greatest Show on Earth (winner of the Oscar for best film in 1952), directed by Cecil B. de Mille. Son Sammy (played by Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord as a child and Gabriel LaBelle as a teenager) is terrified when a train collides on screen, causing a tragedy.

But a spark ignites in the boy. When he returns home, he tries to reproduce the scene with his iron rod. He is encouraged by his mother, Mitzi (masterfully played by Michelle Williams, who is nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress), who puts a camera in his hand and encourages him to make his first film.

We soon learn that the Fabelmans are a very normal and seemingly happy family. The father, Burt (Paul Dano), is a brilliant and very logical engineer, focused on growing his career. The mother, on the other hand, is a talented pianist who gave up her career to raise the children and take care of the house. In addition to Sammy, they have three more daughters, and they all seem to get along well, without major conflicts.

The Beauty of The Fabelmans lies in the subtlety with which this family history is constructed. The structures that support this happy family soon show a few cracks. Mitzi (without a doubt, the star of the film) is a charming woman, who dances free and loose in front of everyone and is always airy, as if she were in another world. But little by little, we understand that this is also a symptom of the depression of a woman who feels trapped inside a suburban life as a mother and housewife.

Meanwhile, Sammy seems to find his vocation as a young filmmaker who reproduces Western scenes with his fellow Scouts, evidencing his precocious genius. He learns how to do filming tricks and edit his films in a self-taught way.

At some point, a banal fact will also be transformative. Her mother’s estranged uncle appears at the family home, as if he were some kind of apparition. Uncle Boris (played by Judd Hirsch, nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) is a former circus artist who enters history as a mentor who will explain the necessary concessions to make a living from art.

It is evident here that Spielberg seems to tell us that the way he found to be in the world is through the mediation of the lens. Through them, the young director observes, selects, filters what he wants to see and show the world. The surname Fabelmans, incidentally, may suggest a pun on fablefable, narrative – that is: the act of putting together a story that makes sense.

But the reality of the film is not always the reality in fact. At a certain point in adolescence, Sammy Fabelman’s camera captures a scene that will change not only his life, but that of his entire family.

an ode to cinema

(Source: NZN)Source: NZN

A key to understanding Os Fabelmans is through their story: that of a genius boy from a Jewish family, who gets involved with cinema since he was a little boy and who even uses it as a defense tool (it is through his films that he deals, for example, with overt anti-Semitism in California, where the family moves for the father’s career).

But there is another way of “reading” the film, and that is to observe the form, the aesthetic and narrative choices made by Spielberg. In this inspired autobiography, the famous director also pays homage to the many films and directors that shaped him. The shots, framing and montage of the entire film take us on a journey through the works that most influenced the director – and, of course, his own work.

All this metanarrative that runs through the film makes us enjoy Os Fabelmans through multiple layers, which are enriched as they are decoded. If the writer Gabriel García Márquez named his autobiography Viver para Contar, perhaps another just title for Spielberg’s work could perhaps be Viver para Filmar.

Pay attention, finally, to the end of the film, which is ingenious and funny in equal measure, in addition to paying homage to two more geniuses of cinema. The Fabelmans may not be the most original work among the Oscar nominees in 2023. But, without a doubt, it is the most charming.

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