Friday, March 1, 2024

The Last Days of Mankind Review

The Last Days of Mankind Review

The cinema, the gaze, the memory. All that Enrico Ghezzi is, has done, was, will be, is inside this film, this video thing of incredible density, of free intelligence, and of a moving humanity. The review of The Last Days of Humanity by Federico Gironi.

How do you explain enrico ghezzi, how do you tell it? How to do it, perhaps he would say at this point, a explain oneselfa tell each other enrico ghezzi? That ghezzi who with his intuitions, his combinations, his reflections, all reckless and miraculously out of sync, and therefore perfectly on target, illuminated the formation and path of legions of cinephiles who avidly fed on him, his ruminations, of his writings, and above all in his television, Cronenbergian incarnation, in his being Blob, Out of Hoursand all the rest.
enrico ghezzi, for those few distracted people who didn’t know it, has been struggling for years with an illness that kept him away from tv, but that hasn’t affected his ability to reason and imagine and think about cinema, images, life.
Cinema, images and life that are inside a film, The last days of humanitywhich Enrico Ghezzi created together with Alessandro Gagliardo, and with the collaboration of his daughter, Aura.
And indeed: indeed inside The last days of humanity (apocalyptic and not at all random title, borrowed from the show by Luca Ronconi based on the text of Karl Krauss and staged at the Lingotto, and on Rai TV, of which a long and fundamental monologue is inserted into the cinematographic videothing of ghezzi) there is precisely, also, the life of enrico ghezzi, and his family, Aura and all the others.

Then, of course, of course, inside The last days of humanity there are film fragments (the dreamlike precipitation of 8 e ½ e King Kong, Shock Corridor e Our Lady of the Turks, Pelesian e Anthony Mann, klaatu barada nikto and Kurosawa’s dead soldiers, X-ray eyes of Ray Milland eh Lightthe set of The Dreamers e The Spider’s Strategyand obviously The Atlas of Vigo, and who knows what else; There are Straub e Huillet at the University of Turin; the words of Franz Kafka and those of Edgar Allan Poe which they throw into the Maelström; there are volcanoes erupting, ships in storms, astronauts in space. There is cinema which, to quote eg, is “the extreme ghost of desire and, at the same time, a sort of confirmation of how much desire is a ghost, the desire to see, to go beyond the limit of the frame, to be the one who sees or to be the thing seen, which belongs as desire and not as satisfaction”.
There is, again quoting eg, editing as “surplus capture machine”.
There is, right from the title, and increasingly clear, explicit, hidden indeed, always perturbing, the dizzying feeling of the apocalypse, of a catastrophe understood in a literal sense, perhaps, but also, above all, in an etymological and mathematical sense: the catastrophe as an upheaval, reversal, as a breakdown of structural equilibrium and change of a pre-existing form.

In between, above, around and in all of this, are the most familiar, and to us least familiar, images of theprivate archive of enrico ghezziand not so much those of his office in Rai full of papers, books and videotapes, but those of his home, his family, his daughters (Aura and Martina) and his son (Adelchi), his wife Nennella Bonaiuto, friends, relatives, holidays and the first days of school, waking up, dinners, breakfasts, bookcases, tables, sofas, screens. Of himself, of all that Enrico Ghezzi is and of all of which Enrico Ghezzi, to quote him again, is memory.
And it is not in itself the intimate, playful, insistent dimension of the relationship between Ghezzi and his daughters and his son that is delicate and movingor maybe yes, but it is also, and more, because inside The last days of humanity there is enrico ghezzi in all his intelligence, his vision, his genius, his research, his work and his work, but there is also enrico ghezzi in all his humanity, precisely, in all his condition, in all his (wanting to) be gaze, memory, image, dream, ghost, desire.
“The spectators are petrified when the train passes”, says Aura Ghezzi quoting the diaries of Frank Kafka. Then, after a while: “Enchanted by that sight, he woke up.”
Here you are. As.