The Son of Joseph

Not rated yet!
Director
Eugène Green
Runtime
1 h 55 min
Release Date
20 April 2016
Genres
Comedy, Drama
Overview
A young man who lives with his mother and has never known his father, heads off to look for him. He finds a cynical and Machiavellian man who works as a publisher in Paris. After he attempts to kill him, he finds filial love thanks to his uncle.
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Armond White3
The National Review / OUT



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Revisiting Pop and Classical Traditions
    Vin Diesel and Eugène Green have different forms of globalism. Vin Diesel’s role as the beloved Iraq War soldier whose sacrifice is memorialized by the protagonist of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk represented a peak of American cultural iconography. His phantom appearances acknowledged the civic participation of unenfranchised people and showed affection to their humanity. Unfortunately, very few filmgoers saw that movie or experienced its heartfelt representation of political status. Diesel never “transcends” race but he offers transracial identification like John Wayne, Sean Connery, and only a few other stars in movie history. So it’s disappointing that Diesel’s reprise of the role of Xander Cage, an extreme-sports athlete turned government operative, in xXx: Return of Xander Cage (following the 2002 blockbuster xXx that made his career) relies on obvious formula rather than extending the character’s meaning. There’s so much yahoo-homeboy-wigger calculation in D. J. Caruso’s action-packed sequel that one cannot dismiss the calculation inside the derring-do. Samuel L. Jackson and Ice Cube (both xXx alumni) show up just to confuse the sense of multiracial appreciation that made Diesel unique. His Fast and Furious franchise with the late lamented Paul Walker was a decent extension of pop culture’s universality but this film’s globalized supporting cast (Hong Kong’s Donnie Yen, India’s Deepika Padukone) shamelessly panders to the international market. It says nothing interesting about unenfranchised people’s relationship to espionage and political power, only about Hollywood exploitation. ***** (function($){ var swapArticleBodyPullAd = function() { if ($('body').hasClass('node-type-articles')) { var $pullAd = $('.story-container .pullad').addClass('mobile-position'); if (window.matchMedia("(min-width: 640px)").matches) { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('desktop-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-desktop-position'); } } else { if ($pullAd.hasClass('mobile-position')) { $pullAd .addClass('mobile-position') .insertBefore('.article-ad-mobile-position'); } } } }; $(window).on('resize', function(){ swapArticleBodyPullAd(); }).resize(); })(jQuery); American movies have squandered their art heritage (as is proven by the meager films in the awards-season competition). This fact makes one grateful for The Son of Joseph, the new movie by expatriate American filmmaker Eugène Green. Green works like a tourist in Paris, his adopted home since 1968. He’s totally entranced by Parisian film style: Utrillo cityscapes; articulate middle-class characters; proverbial ethical questions; and visual chic — most things that Hollywood movies abhor. Add, to that list of Hollywood anathemas, Green’s respect for family life, religion, and classical art — the elements that make up Son of Joseph’s story about 16-year-old Vincent (Victor Ezenfis), who disrupts his education and mystifies the single mother (Natacha Régnier) who raised him, to find his biological father, searching for his ethical heritage. Son of Joseph’s contemporary comedy is presented in the unique style favored by Green, a practitioner of classical French drama such as Corneille and Racine. This might sound arcane, but Green sets out an urgent and recognizable thesis. Vincent was born to a secular world of greed and godless self-satisfaction. His peers are venal youth, first seen torturing a gross city rat and indulging in unsavory Internet commerce. Vincent is tested by their influence, yet in his spartan bedroom he contemplates a large reproduction of Caravaggio’s The Sacrifice of Abraham, not a flat-screen TV or a video-game monitor. Vincent’s personal attraction to Western art culture recalls a religious zealot curious about his class origin and his spiritual purpose. When Vincent finally meets his biological father, he’s startled by a vision that resembles a stained-glass window. This revelation is, pointedly, what video games and comic-book movies that traduce cultural archetypes only pretend to offer unschooled youth. Yet Son of Joseph avoids hollow validation of social trends of the kind seen in Boyhood and Moonlight; instead, through Green’s private sense of humor, it takes a more deeply felt perspective on an issue that is crucial to society today. Green’s concept of the child without a present father takes on a sociological problem via sly Christ parallels and ingeniously posits a solution in the spiritual allegory (shades of Godard’s Hail, Mary!). This is preferable to Spielberg’s patriarchal fantasy The BFG, because, instead of pampering today’s youth market through familiar imaginary devices, Green gets both obscure and deeper. He dares to explore the spiritual need denied by modern anti-patriarchal precedents such as Hollywood’s popularly accepted notion of the non-traditional family. Vincent is told “I’m not sure having a father is an advantage” — but as his worldly adventure exposes him to sexual perfidy and narcissistic careerism (he crashes a high-toned literary party for a novel titled “The Predatory Mother”). the film becomes a comedy-drama about the salvific effect of mentorship and cultural roots. (The upcoming sci-fi film The Space Between Us tells a similar tale, but in a way dependent on mundane formula.) Son of Joseph has a rich effect, by focusing on essential anxieties. Green bases his narrative on Biblical analogues. Vincent’s story is told in five chapters titled “The Sacrifice of Abraham,” “The Golden Calf,” “The Sacrifice of Isaac,” “The Carpenter,” and “The Flight into Egypt.” The film is suffused with Christian — Catholic — awareness but its drama is rooted in Green’s art-conscious sensibility. Vincent, who has an artist’s model’s mien, discovers a mentor, Joseph (Fabrizio Rongione) — a puzzlingly virile adult loner with whom he shares jokes. Together, they tour cathedrals and the Louvre. The art works they observe include sculptures that commemorate social ideas essential to the bourgeoisie yet also inherent in mankind’s being. Caravaggio’s The Sacrifice of Isaac, one of the most impassioned works of Renaissance art, underscores their affinity. Scanning that painting’s details, Green draws out and examines its power. What college curricula no longer call “art appreciation,” but have diminished as part of gender studies, is here raised to a level of profound personal enlightenment. Few recent movies have equal force. The Son of Joseph shows bemused conservatism in its challenge to the current period of social and political hostility that turns people against one other — as if we were all fatherless renegades. Hollywood movies only perpetuate the division. Vincent’s degenerate biological father (Mathieu Amalric) sums up this attitude with a Satanic blasphemy: “Ruler of the world, protect me from the ballbreakers.” More Movies Mark Ruffalo vs. White ‘Conservative’ Women The Mummy Unwrapped: American Guilt and Masochism There’s Still Life in The Mummy Green’s films will never be popular, not in a world that gets its jollies from snarky decadence like Deadpool and Guardians of the Galaxy. Green modifies his Candide farce into his own brand of deadpan humor — replaying faithless sexual habits (like deadpan Lubitsch) and then resolving tragedy and fate into metaphysical comedy (like deadpan Bresson). Green’s combination of Old Testament and New Testament archetypes is a delirious joke that reacquaints contemporary cinema with its former Christian pedigree. The actors’ poised, Racinian performances cohere with the formal jest of Green’s ending that evokes Bethlehem’s basic family unit – including a wittily employed donkey (or is it Bresson’s Balthazar?). For a select audience, Son of Joseph offers even more delight than the Marvel movies do for the juvenile masses. Part of that Marvel/Star Wars devotion has to do with escapism, but Son of Joseph has a richer effect by focusing on essential anxieties; it explores today’s desperate denial of life’s complexity (the fashionable search for “safe spaces”) even as it explores the Western art heritage and religious influence. Green’s idiosyncrasy is a gift. Who expected a modern-day Christmas film to inaugurate the movie year? — Armond White is the author of New Position: The Prince Chronicles. ]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Join the Spider-Man Resistance
    (”The Son of Joseph” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    The Marvel reboot Spider-Man: Homecoming is such a blatantly calculated example of pop-culture inoculation — it presents a teenage Peter Parker’s apprenticeship to the Avengers clan of superhero misfits — that, maybe, it warrants the same wariness as the vaccination controversy. With movies such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Hollywood injects banality into young and gullible viewers; it places them on a cultural version of the autism spectrum. Scenes of adolescent Parker (Tom Holland) worrying about test grades and dating, and at his high-school prom, alternate with scenes of his doing brainiac research into his newly acquired powers, meeting billionaire Tony Stark (Robert
    Read More ...
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • The 13th Annual Better-Than List
    (”The Son of Joseph” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Ten Best Lists are Fake News and have been for years. Peruse local media nationwide in any year — but especially this year — and see the same movies rubberstamped because most reviewers, enslaved to studio publicists, pay attention only to highly promoted movies and then pretend to assess the state of the culture. Readers of this column will be aware of the good films listed below — proof that moviegoers need to be diligent about what they read and what they choose to see in this era of hype and hypocrisy. European films dominate the Better-Than List for reasons too embarrassing
    Read More ...
    ...
    (Review Source)

VJ Morton1
Right Wing Film Geek



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)
  • 2017 films
    (”The Son of Joseph” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    All the 2017 US-release films I've seen, from best to worst. Only films that have currently been released are here; films I've seen at fests will be added when released.

    1. The Salesman
    2. Graduation
    3. Behemoth
    4. Phantom Thread
    5. Dina
    6. The Unknown Girl
    7. A Quiet Passion
    8. Dunkirk
    9. Nocturama
    10. mother!

    ...plus 76 more. View the full list on Letterboxd.

    ...
    (Review Source)

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