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The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; mother Cristina mostly looks after the career of their son Benjie, 13, a child star. One of Stafford's clients, Havana, is an actress who dreams of shooting a remake of the movie that made her mother, Clarice, a star in the 60s. Clarice is dead now and visions of her come to haunt Havana at night... Adding to the toxic mix, Benjie has just come off a rehab program he joined when he was 9 and his sister, Agatha, has recently been released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania and befriended a limo driver Jerome who is also an aspiring actor. Written by
In an almost 50-year career, this was the very first time that David Cronenberg ever filmed anything in the United States (his previous movies were mostly shot in Canada or the UK). The film shot for 5 days in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills (location manager Scott Trimble) and 24 days in Cronenberg's native Toronto (location manager Marty Dejczak). See more »
Before talking about "Maps to the Stars", I have to say that, two years ago, I had already seen and deeply appreciated David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis": this particular movie, as its ideal sequel, represent not only, as many people may suggest, a critic towards the Hollywood society, but a consideration about a larger group of people. People afflicted by an attitude of alienation, that is taking a distance from themselves in order to reach qualities or values imposed, often not manifestly but in a rather faint way, by society. The protagonist of Cosmopolis is in fact a rich young man (even his tender age could be meaningful) who completely embodies a certain role and a certain stereotype, and who, therefore, has completely lost himself, insofar as he cannot create solid relationships with anybody anymore. Maps to the Stars includes and, at the same time, goes beyond this matter: being probably influenced by Sigmund Freud's theories about childhood traumas and their long-term consequences, Cronenberg depicts a society full of neurotic individuals, who, though adult, still have to deal with past events and are deeply influenced by them. Ironically, all the children in the movie, who may have the possibility to live a different existence from their parents' one, are destroyed by the faults of the latter. Thus giving birth to a vicious circle which ends with no less than a conclusion as much pessimistic as striking: an act of liberation (not to spoiler anything at all) of two main characters. The wonderful poem "Liberté" by Paul Éluard, as a matter of fact, echoes across the entire movie, as much in the words of the characters as in a fading kind of way, like a "fil rouge" that represent both the other face of the corrupted society and an escape to it as well. As far as the technical sphere is concerned, cinematography and music play a fundamental role in determining a quite distorted vision of reality, insofar as they may as well represent the psychology of characters itself: cold colours and a peacefully rhythmic air create an atmosphere of strangeness that vibrates into the depths of the spectator's mind, making the latter fall into a sort of constant hypnosis. Hypnosis that could last until the very end of the movie. As it may be already clear, I deeply recommend watching this movie, in theaters especially - given its majestic technical qualities. Nevertheless, I have to say that, also being a "Palme d'Or" nominated movie, Maps to the Stars is not recommendable for people who are looking for a funny and simple movie: Cronenberg's critic is not comparable to a Woody-Allen kind of irony - although I really love his one as well - but it is a more serious and interpretive one.
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