The 2024 edition of the Cannes Film Festival made quite a number of headlines. From complaints of rude, handsy security on the red carpet to the coming together of film greats Martin Scorsese and George Lucas on the same stage, it was quite the two weeks. Perhaps, one that went under the radar was Saint Laurent's multiple appearances at the film festival.

There's no doubt that the red carpet at Cannes is as much of a showstopper as the schedule of films—Saint Laurent is anything but a stranger at the former. But this time, the French fashion house took part in the other half of the festival with its newly formed film production arm Saint Laurent Productions.

Initiated by creative director Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent Productions marks the first full-fledged production of film by a fashion house. For its official debut, Saint Laurent Productions premiered three films at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival where Vaccarello is both listed as co-producer as well as costume artistic director.

Diane Kruger and Vincent Cassel star in David Cronenberg's The Shrouds.

The trio of long-feature films are Emilia Perez by Jacques Audiard (featuring a star-studded cast including Zoe Saldaña, Selena Gomez, and Edgar Ramirez), David Cronenberg's The Shrouds, and Parthenope directed by Paolo Sorrentino. All three films were in competition for the coveted Palme d'Or. Although none were awarded the honour—it went to Anora by American filmmaker Sean Baker—Emilia Perez took home the Jury Prize while its ensemble female cast was awarded Best Actress. In other words, not too bad for a first-time production house.

It may seem out of left field for Saint Laurent to have a film production arm, but the in reality the House has had a link to the world of cinema back to the very beginnings of its inception. Founder Yves Saint Laurent—apart from contributing to some of fashion's most celebrated silhouettes— designed costumes for a number of films. His most prominent was 1967's Belle de Jour starring Catherine Deneuve, where the entire film wardrobe for the actress was wholly designed by the couturier. Yves' collections were also thought of as cinematic, something that Vaccarello has increasingly channelled in his collections for the House.

There's little doubt that with the successful Cannes debut, Saint Laurent Productions will continue to produce a wide range of films, each with the same depth as Vaccarello's collections. With Jonathan Anderson of Loewe also having had a hand in designing costumes for Challengers, is this a trend that we'll see more of?

Kinds of Kindness. SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Although I do not believe that 2023 will go down as a stellar year for anyone – I asked six friends and they all agreed – there is something I cannot stop thinking about: Cannes 2023. We got The Zone of InterestAnatomy of a FallMay DecemberHow to Have SexPerfect Days. There was Killers of the Flower Moon. There was that gay Western with Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal. And best of all – and yes, I really mean best – we got our first peak at The Idol, The Weeknd’s HBO critical darling (ha, ha) gone too soon. If the Oxford English Dictionary ever need to update their definition of “halcyon” – is that something they do? – they could just use two words: Cannes 2023.

Which leads us to the 2024 festival, its 77th edition, which takes place in a few weeks. This year’s jury is headed up by Greta Gerwig, former indie darling who last year managed to turn a toy franchise into an Oscar-nominated film (though missed actual gold: shame!). It’s probably not going to be quite as starry as last year’s affair – though, as evidenced by my introduction, what chance did it have? – but there are a few promising projects.

You can read the full list of in-competition and out-of-competition films here, but we have picked some highlights.

The Apprentice. TAILORED FILMS

All eyes are on Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis, about an architect who rebuilds New York following a disaster. The film, which Coppola has been working on since the early Eighties, stars Adam Driver, Nathalie Emanuel and Aubrey Plaza.

Barry Keoghan dropped out of Gladiator II (led by Esquire cover star Paul Mescal) to star in Bird, directed by Andrea Arnold (American HoneyFish Tank) alongside the recent star of gay open relationship drama Passages, Franz Rogowski. And his Saltburn co-star and erstwhile Elvis, Jacob Elordi, will star in Paul Schrader’s Oh, Canada, which is based on 2021 novel Foregone. It’s about a an American leftie who heads to Canada to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War.

Yorgos Lanthimos, fresh from a victory run with Poor Things, is back with Kinds of Kindness, an anthology film starring Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, possible tortured poet Joe Alwyn and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it turn from Hunter Schafer. Tortured politician Donald Trump is the subject of The Apprentice, directed by Ali Abbasi, which follows the businessman turned politician’s early years. The dubious honour of playing the former president goes to Sebastian Stan and Succession’s Jeremy Strong co-stars.

Sean Baker, the American director behind the heart-stealing The Florida Project, returns with Anora, a New York rom-com about… well, who knows actually? Details are under wrap apart from the cast which includes Mikey Madison (Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood). Elsewhere Italian director Paolo Sorrentino returns with Parthenope, starring Gary Oldman. We don’t know much about that one either though the film’s title takes its name from a siren in Greek mythology (could be helpful to know for a pub quiz?).

David Cronenberg is premiering The Shrouds, a horror film with Vincent Cassel, Guy Pearce and Diane Kruger. Cassel plays a widower who invents a machine to connect with the dead. If movies have taught us anything, that will surely have zero consequences. Another horror, Coralie Fargeat’s The Substance, sounds interesting thanks to its cast alone: Demi Moore, Dennis Quaid and Margaret Qualley.

The biggie premiering out of competition is George Miller’s Fury Road prequel, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. Anya Taylor-Joy takes on the lead role while Thor’s younger brother, Liam Hemsworth, joins in on the desert fun. Will Kevin Costner’s western, Horizon: An American Saga, be as fun? Who knows but its cast, which includes Costner, Sienna Miller and Luke Wilson, will surely give it a go.

And what will follow up Molly Manning Walker’s How To Have Sex in the Un Certain Regard category? By title alone, I am excited by On Becoming a Guinea Fowl from Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni. It is a family comedy-drama set in Africa and has already been picked up by A24 for international sales.

Originally published on Esquire UK

From 15 to 21 April 2024, Moncler transforms the Milano Centrale railway station into a spectacular creative hub. The station will turn into one of the world’s largest galleries with an immersive exhibition titled An Invitation To Dream.

“Dreams are what have been moving myself and Moncler forward since day one, because we never stop dreaming about what is possible, and how we can inspire and be inspired by others around the world. Always aiming to not only do new, but to do better,” says Moncler chairman and CEO Remo Ruffini.

Curated by Jefferson Hack, the theme of the exhibition heeds closely to the brand’s values. An Invitation To Dream is filmed and photographed by Jack Davison, and features a lineup of visionaries that are the cultural leaders of today. They include Daniel Arsham, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Isamaya Ffrench, Laila Gohar, Jeremy O. Harris, Francesca Hayward, Julianknxx, Ruth Rogers, Ruffini, Rina Sawayama, Sumayya Vally, and Zaya. 

“The curated community represent some of the finest creative visionaries across culture who dare to dream for us. They are today’s reality-shapers and they were invited to participate as their work carries with it new hopes and possibilities. It’s the deeply transformative aspects in their work and practice that makes them essential artists of our time and essential for us to bring into this project,” Hack explains.

Without a doubt, the station is one of the city’s busiest travel hubs. But not only that, it also represents the pivotal moment for those daring enough to pursue their dreams. Billboards and screen-based advertising sites featuring imageries and quotations from the artists stand amidst the station's bustling environment. These large-scale text pieces and slow-motion portraits serve as powerful yet silent invocations. An Invitation To Dream celebrates those who embody passion and belief.

Arsham tells us more as he reflects on the concept of dreams and manifestation, and how it might help him in his creative processes. From childhood inspirations to the subconscious realms where ideas germinate, Arsham's narrative offers a glimpse into the inner workings of a visionary artist.

ESQUIRE SINGAPORE: Do you consider yourself a dreamer? Are you a dreamer?

DANIEL ARSHAM: Yeah, I believe in the power of manifestation. When I was younger, I didn't fully grasp this concept or its reality, but looking back, I see how I've manifested many opportunities in my life. For instance, when I applied to Cooper Union, I wasn't accepted initially, but I kept pushing for it until it happened. Similarly, working with Merce Cunningham was a dream I actively pursued.

ESQ: You have a lot of notebooks and that you sketch a lot. It's interesting how dreams often start in the mind before taking tangible form. How do you document your process of manifesting ideas? Do your dreams directly influence your work?

DA: There's that 5- to 10-minute period right before you fall asleep where you're kind of in between sleeping, lucid dreaming, where you're partially in control of the vision that you're having in your dream and part of it's taken over by your subconscious. And you can’t differentiate what’s real and what’s imaginary. I often find inspiration in that liminal state right before sleep. There are moments, especially during air travel, where I enter a state between wakefulness and sleep, and ideas emerge. I rely heavily on note-taking and sketching to capture these fleeting thoughts.

ESQ: It's interesting how much our subconsciousness can help recontextualise the conscious mind in a way it can be a freer space. You know, you have an idea, you sketch, you look at ideas, but then when you're in that kind of dream world, you're able to kind of rethink things, or things are presented to you without bias.

DA: Yeah. Ironically, I sometimes do this thing to document an idea where I'll text it to myself. I woke up the other morning from a dream and saw this text I wrote to myself and it said, "Have you ever woken up out of a beautiful dream 30 minutes before your alarm, and you really just want to get back into that dream? Make your life feel like that."

ESQ: Creative flow and dreaming share similarities in their meditative nature. Do you experience a flow state while creating?

DA: Yeah. My studio practice feels like capturing an existing idea rather than inventing one. The idea behind it has already passed. So it's about capturing an idea rather than implementing it. I don't know how exactly to say this, but when I'm painting, It's almost as if the idea is kind of already there and I'm just finding it. Does that make sense?

ESQ: So are you able to kind of paint and not think about what you’re doing? How would you describe that, that feeling of being in a flow state?

DA: I've been making paintings now for 30 years, and I've gotten into a process that almost feels, I wouldn’t say mechanical, but it's very regimented. I know exactly where all of my paint is, the types of brushes that I like to use, and I've refined all of that, even down to the point where I only use a specific kind of paint now.

ESQ: It's interesting because I think that that kind of discipline and rigour is akin to a meditation practice where you're doing something very mundane, but you're doing it very precisely, over and over again, like raking the Japanese garden in your big installation.

DA: Yeah.

ESQ: It does something to the mind. It does something to the creative mind, that practice...

DA: That's why we call it studio practice, because you're constantly trying things out. You're still learning and there's routines that get built up within that that I think are productive, actually, even if they feel like you're doing the same thing over and over again. But, you become better at those things through that kind of practice.

ESQ: Has there ever been a kind of an epiphany moment in that studio practice where you've just done a left turn or you’re shaking things up and thought, okay, I'm going to re orientate what I'm doing here?

DA: I often find it really difficult to trace the origin of particular ideas in my work because they flow from one another. They're kind of iterative. And, I recently started this new series of paintings that are these kinds of split face paintings. We were talking about them earlier and somebody was asking, where did the idea originate from and I can't even remember. 

ESQ: So very much like a dream it's fragmentary, right? You know, it could come from the past and could come from, a moment in history or another life and it could also be a premonition of the future, something that you're projecting or wanting to manifest?

DA: Right.

ESQ: I think by saying I don't know where my ideas come from, I start to question whether they are from me or are they from another kind of source in a way that I'm channelling. Have you thought much about that? Where does inspiration come from in general for you?

DA: I think every artist is a product of the era they live in. It is the artist’s job to interpret and reveal new potential things within that reality that often go unseen or overlooked. Oftentimes when I create a work that has a big impact, it feels as though it already existed in the world, waiting to be expressed. This sense of inherent presence gives the work a significant impact and a sense of purpose fulfilled.

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ESQ: There's definitely recurring symbols and motifs in your work. Are there recurring symbols and motifs in your dream world?

DA: Oh, I have tons of recurring dreams. One of them that's very strange that I can remember going all the way back to high school is, being in a kind of empty landscape with a single tree and there are these cylinders floating in the air and as I go to grab them, they shrink down into a pencil and then just disappear. Then I often have dreams where I'm in my childhood home where I kind of relive my childhood memories.

ESQ: And how does that make you feel?

DA: It's a beautiful thing to go back to your childhood. And, I could probably draw a very accurate floor plan of it even today. I haven't been in that house in over 30 years, but I know it very well. Space has a way of influencing our psychology that I think imprints a lot in childhood.

ESQ: In what way?

DA: I think your childhood bedroom or the space that you spend a lot of time in as a child imprints on you differently than the way an apartment in your 30s might. There's just a different character about it.

ESQ: I'm just imagining younger you in your childhood home, dreaming of what you might be in the future. What were some of the things that you were looking out for that gave you a sense of inspiration or confidence about taking the path of being an artist?

DA: I grew up in a really suburban neighbourhood where all the houses are literally identical with the same floor plan. They might do a mirror image where the house is in reverse of itself. I started getting into photography around age 10 or 11 when my grandfather gifted me a camera. One of my early artistic endeavours was a series of photos capturing the doors of these houses. Even though the houses were the same, the doors ended up being different. The paint of the door. Some people put a flower pot outside their door, or a cross, or something that gave that sameness a unique character. This experience sparked my recognition of an artist's ability to capture the distinctive aspects of everyday life that others may overlook.

ESQ: It's amazing because I can imagine you sort of looking through the frame and then it altering your sense of reality and perspective on the world. I'm really interested in this idea of how you think about reality and perspective. Obviously, our dream world allows us to play with one of those concepts because it is nonlinear, experimental. It's an unreal world. In some cultures, they would say the real world is an illusion and the dream world is the world. But obviously when you're making art and your artworks are also about world building and creating alternate worlds for yourself to inhabit, I wonder if this idea of reality shaping is something that interests you in your work.

DA: Yeah, I think for most people, they accept reality at face value and they accept the limitations of that. Right?

ESQ: The literal physics.

DA: It's not just about the physics; it's about where we're born, the options presented to us, and what we believe we're capable of achieving. For me, the essence of creating art goes beyond a career; it's about realising the potential to bring my visions to life authentically. It can be unsettling to recognise that much of what we perceive as reality are human constructs. Somebody made them, you know. I have my two young sons, Casper and Phoenix, and I often emphasise to them that behind every design decision lies the possibility for change. There's a lot of potential in realising that reality is malleable.

ESQ: So your motivation is about looking at the world and seeing how you can improve on it or change it. Or is it more about seeking some kind of answers to unrealised questions?

DA: Yeah, I think making art is more about trying to find the answer to something, but actually it's really revealing more questions in some ways.

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ESQ: That's super interesting. I like that we talked a lot about childhood and your children as well. I think also part of it seems to me that you are always open to change and new possibilities. You said earlier, always learning is also a little bit about staying in a childlike state?

DA: Yeah. Children have this unique ability to perceive things differently.

ESQ: How do you maintain that sense of freshness and openness to new experiences? What are some of your techniques?

DA: I try to relive my own childhood through my sons. This is a bad example, but they've been wanting to get these go karts. Obviously, cars are a big part of my life, so I got them these really fast gas go karts that are probably not even legal today. I have a paved area behind my garage and you can fully drift these things. They kept telling me ‘you're going too fast’ and I was like ‘I got it under control!’ And eventually, like a child, I pushed it over the limit and fully flipped the thing, tore up my arm and knee, and it was funny. Casper, who's the older one, said ‘you know, I told you not to do that.’

ESQ: How have you showcased "pushing the limits" in your work?

DA: As an artist, we often engage in series, and the public often perceives artwork through repetition. It's like pages of a book that you're putting together, but knowing when the book is finished and how it progresses to the next chapter or book is a constant consideration. I often have too many ideas that I'm always waiting to realise. I don't know if that really answers the question. But yeah, I always have too many things on my list to make, too many ideas.

ESQ: Was there an experience, an artwork that's made such an incredible impression on you, the kind of impression you hope your work would have on the public when they encounter it?

DA: Right around the time that I was shooting those photographs, when I was 10, 11, 12, there was a hurricane in Florida that completely destroyed the childhood home that I grew up in. The house was reconstructed back in exactly the way that it had been before, except obviously, the wallpaper was different. The tiles on the floor were different. The furniture was different. But it was the exact same space. It also gave me the experience of seeing how architecture was put together. The structure, the electrical lines, the plumbing, the drywall, the paint. Understanding that, yeah, somebody thought about that, somebody made that, it was a considered idea. I think that really had a major impact on the way that I think about everything. Something being destroyed, something being reconstructed. The use of different materials for different possibilities and its manifested in my work in so many different ways.

ESQ: That's a great story. Last question, what’s an unrealised dream or ambition for you?

DA: Ummm.. an unrealised dream? Film is certainly something that I've played with in the past and I think never really realised in its full potential. Made some short films. But I think at this phase in my life, I keep coming back to the most interesting things that constantly draws me back. I have made a big return to painting after almost a decade. It's become not only a part of my art practice, but also a significant aspect of my daily life in the studio.

LIONSGATE

Following nearly 16 years of development hell, The Crow is finally ready to seek vengeance once again. Based on James O'Barr's 1989 comic book series of the same name, the upcoming film was first announced in 2008. Various actors were in talks to lead over the years, including Bradley Cooper, Jason Momoa, Tom Hiddleston, and Luke Evans. Now, Rupert Sanders (Ghost in the Shell) will direct the film, which will star Bill Skarsgård and FKA Twigs.

Skarsgård will play Eric Draven, a murdered man who seeks to avenge the deaths of himself and his fiancėe (FKA Twigs). "A crow carries their soul to the land of the dead," the narrator says in the first trailer for the film. "But sometimes something so bad happens, that the soul cannot rest until you put the wrong things right." The trailer also shows the grittier and bloodier direction for The Crow. Danny Huston (Succession) plays the main villain. The Crow premieres in theatres on 7 June, 2024.

A Tragic Legacy

The original The Crow (1994) film was famously mired with tragedy. A prop gun disaster fatally wounded star Brandon Lee, the son of legendary action star Bruce Lee. Though Lee had already filmed most of his scenes, the rest of the movie was recut and edited with stunt doubles and digital effects. The Crow later went on to become a cult classic. It grossed USD94 million at the box office on a USD23-million budget. Three more The Crow films were subsequently released, including two direct-to-video sequels.

Though the upcoming reimagining of The Crow is technically the fifth film in the franchise, it marks the first time that the story of Eric Draven will be retold for a new audience. "I was a huge fan of the original film growing up as a kid and was so honored to take on the role of Eric Draven," Skarsgård said in the official press release for the new trailer. "But really what drew me to it was what Rupert Sanders wanted to do with it. He wanted to completely reimagine the story and the character and tailor it towards a modern audience... I felt a responsibility to Eric’s story and endeavored to stay true to the spirit of the source material."

Sanders hopes that the new film pays homage to Lee's iconic role. That and forging a new direction for the influential series. "What drew me to this was the opportunity to make a dark romance, something that dealt with loss, grief, and the ethereal veil between life and death and reaching through that," the director told Vanity Fair. "I grew up listening to Joy Division and The Cure, and this movie is a bit like a Cure song—the beauty of melancholy."

Originally published on Esquire US

(Editor's Note: This was originally posted last year but we've re-up this write-up due to Oppenheimer's Oscar sweep.)

10-Word Review

Get sucked in by the drama and Cillian Murphy's stare.

The Skinny

Now this is a story all about how / the world got flipped turned upside down / with a bomb from the Manhattan Project cadre / here's the life of Oppenheimer (and his thousand-yard stare).


Here Be Spoilers...


What we like:

Christopher Nolan isn't making films, he's creating an experience. For his latest trick, he presents the biopic of the father of the atomic bomb, J Robert Oppenheimer. Adapted from American Prometheus written by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin, the film chronicle the famed theoretical physicist's life, from student life at Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to being the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory to getting his security clearance revoked due to tenuous communist ties.

It seemed strange for Nolan to take up a profile like Oppenheimer (played by Cillian Murphy). Especially, when it's shot in Nolan's preference for the IMAX experience. There are no action scenes, nothing that befits the movie being shot on large format film stock—IMAX 65mm and Panavision 65mm film—(there was an estimated 17.7km worth of finished film stock) but Nolan sees it apt to highlight Oppenheimer on such a scale.

It's quite amazing how it all came together. There's nary a dull moment throughout the film's three-hour running time thanks to Nolan's deft direction, stellar ensemble and immaculate sound engineering. Not content with a linear re-telling of Oppenheimer's life, the film jumps back and forth to key moments and not only that it switches between the perspectives between Oppenheimer and Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr), a senior member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC); one in colour and the other in stark black-and-white, respectively.

The sound and music for Oppenheimer is something to behold. Faithful to the physics, the sound follows after we see the explosion. This is also true during a storm, where we see the flash of lightning, followed by the boom of thunder. When the first nuclear weapon test started, the expected sounds of the explosion were sidelined by Oppenheimer's breathing as he saw the conflagration of fire and billowing smoke. In the theatre, we sat transfixed by the near-silence of the explosion before the sound kicked in.

In his second time working with Nolan, Ludwig Göransson took Nolan's advice in using the violin as Oppenheimer's central theme. Göransson said that the stringed instrument could go from "the most romantic, beautiful tone in a split second to neurotic and heart-wrenching, horror sounds".

The best example is the nuclear explosion at Trinity (the codename of the site where it took place). We were at the edge of our seats in the lead-up to the experiment. Which is weird because all the historical accounts said that the experiment went off without a hitch. But how it was edited and soundtracked, you hope the experiment will be successful.

Cillian Murphy, who is well-known for his tenure in the TV series, Peaky Blinders, puts on a defining performance as Oppenheimer. Demonstrating the complexity of Oppenheimer with nuance would hobble a lesser actor but not in Murphy's hands. With Murphy, Oppenheimer comes across as a sympathetic Frankenstein (the doctor not as most erroneously would assume, the monster), a man who witnessed the mysteries of the atoms with awe and, later in the film, as a nuclear shade who is now the self-appointed martyr for ushering in the Atomic Age.

Furthering adding to fleshing out Oppenheimer, Murphy went on an intense transformation by reading up on the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu religious text that Oppenheimer would quote from and going on a diet that reduced him to his character’s stick-thin frame.

Downey Jr gives one of the better performances of his career as the embittered Strauss, who has a fractious relationship with Oppenheimer. Driven by ambition, Downey Jr displays a man who is an imposing figure in America’s nuclear program but dwarfed by his pettiness against a slight from Oppenheimer. Emily Blunt plays Oppenheimer's wife, Kitty, and she holds her own in this movie. Her deathstare towards her husband's ex-colleague or her bemused reaction during an interrogation, Blunt conveys the hidden pillar of strength in Oppenheimer's marriage.

I'm just glad that Murphy is back to playing the lead for a major film. To my limited memory, the last movies that he headlined were Sunshine and 28 Days Later.

Because there's something mesmerising about the way he stares at you; as though vacant but yet arresting at the same time. I'm pretty sure if there was a short film of just the camera pushing in slowly into Murphy's haunted mien, people would pay money to see it.

I mean, look at him. Now imagine if this was in colour, you will DIE IN THOSE POOLS OF BLUE.

What we didn't like:

Seven words: NOT SEEING CILLIAN MURPHY'S DONG ON IMAX.

I'm joking. Mostly. I'll explain.

This is Nolan's first R-rated movie and it includes Oppenheimer's love life with Jean Tatlock (played by Florence Pugh). Nolan felt that the intimacy between Oppenheimer and Tatlock were necessary to showcase the couple's connection. There were rumours that this might show full frontal nudity from both actors but, alas, nothing from Murphy. Not even a bare buttock. (We are all about having male actors go the full monty on the big screen. CHILL IT WITH THE DOUBLE-STANDARD, HOLLYWOOD.)

I get that Nolan doesn't want to shy from Oppenheimer's intimate moments but it felt gratuitous. Instead of the sex scenes, maybe it would be nice to have more insight into Tatlock's life and motivations. The character does not seem fully fleshed out and even Emily Blunt's Kitty barely escaped this bare-bones characterisation.

What to look out for:

The number of established actors that are part of this cast. Aside from the marquee names like Matt Damon as Lieutenant General Leslie Groves and Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, there are other notable faces to spot. Personalities like Jason Clarke as Roger Robb; Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence; Dane DeHaan as Kenneth Nichols; Benny Safdie as Edward Teller; James Urbaniak as Kurt Gödel; Jack Quaid as Richard Feynman; Olivia Thirlby as Lilli Hornig; Casey Affleck as Boris Pash; Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr; Gary Oldman as President Harry S Truman and so on.

The only notable person not in the cast is Sir Michael Caine. Having appeared in all of Nolan's production since Batman Begins in 2005, this is the only film that doesn't feature him.

Also, don't forget the end-credit scene that sets up the Oppenheimer sequel. JK.

Oppenheimer was out in theatres and now lives rent-free in our collective heads.

Leave it to the Internet to turn the biggest movie of the year into a meme factory. Over the past few days, the world wide web has been ablaze with any and all wisecracks pertaining to little film called Dune: Part Two. The much-anticipated sequel stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, a warrior who unites with Chani (Zendaya), the (literal) woman of his dreams, to defend the Fremen and defeat the evil House Harkonnen. The sequel also features newcomers that include Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha; Florence Pugh as Princess Irulan and Christopher Walken as the Emperor Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, the 81st representative of House Corrino. The film premiered in theatres and has amassed a kingly sum to the tune of USD97 million at the global box office.

The full synopsis is far more complicated (we highly suggest that you simply start reading Frank Herbert's Dune novels), but I’ll spare you the details. That isn't what you came here for. If you want to learn more about Dune, you can read up on it here. Also, here for those fashion-savvy readers. If you’re interested in what the Internet has to say about director Denis Villeneuve’s latest feat, then stick around. Because there's no better way than to keep your finger on the beating pulse of pop culture than to see what others have meme-fied.

Below, Esquire has rounded up the best Dune: Part Two memes so far. Below, you'll everything from red carpet jokes to sandworm shuffles—and, yes, the viral Duneussy. (Don't ask, OK?) You'll also see an individual riding a makeshift sandworm through an AMC theatre. Take from that information what you will.

Before we part, beware: there are some spoilers ahead. If you haven’t seen Dune: Part Two, scroll at your own risk. We'll see you on the other side.


Not joking when I say that this meme fundamentally changed the way I hear/process the DUNE score forever to the point that I ONLY think it is Kurt Hummel from GLEE singing it. Fully prepared to laugh when I hear while watching DUNE 2 todaypic.twitter.com/YfuQv4FTYX

— Emmy Potter (@emmylanepotter) March 1, 2024

me when the Dune desert mouse made his return in Part Two pic.twitter.com/FIr8NG0SmN

— paul (@paulswhtn) March 4, 2024

Value Alert: if you don't have a cat cone the lid to the Dune Popcorn Bucket is a great substitute pic.twitter.com/8gN7yDoHxe

— gaz (@gazpachomachine) March 2, 2024

Someone made a full Fremen suit & rideable sandworm to go to the theater in to watch ‘DUNE 2’. pic.twitter.com/58omtu4oZL

— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) March 4, 2024

lady jessica in the first movie: i will do anything to keep paul safe

lady jessica in dune 2: pic.twitter.com/WE7Scz9v3J

— twltter user (@up2anth) March 4, 2024

this is kinda what sand walking looks like in dune ngl pic.twitter.com/wI44c4BJ5l

— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) March 2, 2024

This how you walk on the sand so you don’t alert the worms pic.twitter.com/83TQ5J27ni

— Russell (@RussellFalcon) March 1, 2024

Timothee called ahead this time and asked her what she’s wearing 😭 https://t.co/oisVcRXEJS

— Ashley K. (@AshleyKSmalls) February 21, 2024

#DunePart2 without context pic.twitter.com/1T4RtfWFgM

— BLURAYANGEL 🦇 (@blurayangel) March 1, 2024

Me talking about Dune 2 all weekend pic.twitter.com/jKfOhXLeRn

— RICKY (@Rickyismsss) March 1, 2024

I will love you as long as I breathe…then proceeds to ask for another woman’s hand in marriage #Dune2 pic.twitter.com/W2zkEv08My

— Amanda (@amandaalives) March 3, 2024

real footage of me leaving the cinema after watching dune part 2 pic.twitter.com/XLLoAWNRcm

— babs (@illicitsffairs) March 4, 2024

Me in the theater every time lady Jessica used the voice #DunePart2pic.twitter.com/2nVdRfjtKH

— em 🪐🍋🪻 (@_EMMinem) March 3, 2024

Yeah I’m interested in Dune 2… Dune 2 others as I would have others do unto me

— caitie delaney (@caitiedelaney) March 3, 2024

Originally published on Esquire US

Although Madame Web boasts the superpower of seeing into the future, there’s no way she could’ve foreseen this disaster…

To date, Madame Web has generated USD57 million worldwide. Yikes.

The Hollywood Reporter published that this is the worst opening for a Sony movie that features characters directly from the Spider-Man ethos. And unfortunately for those with ‘I Love The Multiverse’ in their LinkedIn profile, the carousel of underperforming superhero movies—both Marvel and DC—is only continuing, if not speeding up.

Madame Web is laughably bad. The script is FULL of clunky lines like the memeified "He was in the Amazon with my mom when she was researching spiders right before she died," the action is shoddy, the characters are dull. It desperately wants to be a Spider-Man movie, but it isn't pic.twitter.com/Ing2amf56n

— molly freeman (@mollyrockit) February 13, 2024

With a shocking 13 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes, this may very well be the beginning of the end for the reign of superhero films.

Madame Web is riddled with mistakes that will be noticeable to even somewhat mindful viewers, like anachronisms with the movie’s 2003 setting, questionable medical knowledge, obvious product placement, camera angles that overtly reveal that scenes make no sense and a seeming ignorance of the film’s own established plot points,” notes KCENTV.

But is the film the only one to blame? Or are there additional factors that have contributed to the film’s shameful descent into cinematic Armageddon?

As someone who spends copious amounts of time at the movie theatre, there was surprisingly little promo for the film. Especially since this was not some indie flick but rather a new instalment in the biggest franchise ever. To my memory, the only time a Marvel film has received such little attention, was 2021’s Eternals. That film, perhaps until now, was the biggest Marvel flop to date. Not even a star-studded cast including Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani’s recently acquired biceps could keep the film afloat. And what’s perhaps even more surprising is that Madame Web was clobbered by the recent biopic Bob Marley: One Love. Despite Bob Marley being an icon of music, few could foresee him toppling Spider-Man.

Maybe It's the Lead

Dakota Johnson has also generated some serious flack online. Mostly for her indifference not just toward the film, but toward any form of promotion, having gone viral for saying she “isn’t good at talking to journalists.” I'm going to make a bold claim here. That nobody who has to use spreadsheets likes to use spreadsheets, but we do it because we have to.

One is instantly reminded of the current backlash Rachel Zegler faced for her souring comments about her upcoming Snow White remake. Many suspect that, due to the public outrage over her disreputable comments on the iconic Disney character that literally built the foundation on the which the company now stands, Disney is secretly in talks to not just reshoot large parts of the film, but to recast Zegler as well, but alas, I digress.

In an interview leading up to the film, Johnson struggled to name a single Tom Holland Spider-Man film. She'd admit later that she’d personally only seen less than five per cent of any of the superhero movies. Considering the current fanbase for these flicks, that probably isn’t the best way to get people on your team. Adding that "drastic changes" were made to the script throughout the press tour, again, isn’t the biggest insinuator that the movie is going to be a hit.

Online, memes have already been posted about how Madame Web is even worse than Morbius. Remember Morbius? Not only was it the worst superhero film ever made, but one of the worst movies of all time.

Morbius waking up seeing the Madame Web reviews... pic.twitter.com/Tyo562DQT4

— ScreenTime (@screentime) February 13, 2024

What many don’t know is that Madame Web isn’t actually part of the MCU, but rather a standalone Sony picture. The company still partly owns the rights to Spider-Man, and is understandably not looking to give those up anytime soon. Another film not part of the MCU but slyly promoted as so? Morbius. Perhaps we’re catching on to a pattern here. Say what you will about the Marvel films, but they have a winning formula. And when they deviate from that formula, not just story-wise but with productional backing, well, then perhaps you get Madame Web and Morbius, two of the (sorry) least exciting characters from the Spider-Man universe.


In 2014’s Birdman, Michael Keaton’s character is putting on a Broadway play, and when he suggests actors for consideration, he realises that everyone is busy with superhero movies. “They put him in a cape too?!” he laments. Ironic coming from Batman. Especially one who reprised his role in last year’s horrendous The Flash. But the point of all this is that if you put on a cape, you’re guaranteed a fat paycheck. Edward Norton admitted that he was only paid USD4,200 for Moonrise Kingdom. And when you take that into consideration, one can sympathise with the decision of every major movie star lunging at the opportunity to do karate in front of a green screen. Even if the movie sucks.

Originally published on Esquire ME

With the release of Dune: Part Two right around the corner, the cast has been on a press tour the world over. There's no denying that they're taking the fashion seriously too. From red carpet premieres to photocalls, Timothée Chalamet and Austin Butler—portraying Paul Atreides and newly introduced Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, respectively—have been showcasing a diverse array of looks. Each outfit chosen had been statements in their own right, and are deserving of as much hype as the movie itself.

CinemaCon 2023

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At CinemaCon 2023, Chalamet was decked out in a grungy look as he wore an edgy leather vest by Helmut Lang over a white T-shirt and skinny leather motorcycle trousers with built-in knee pads. To finish off the biker aesthetic, a pair of pointed black leather boots was the footwear of choice.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

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At the casts’ appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Chalamet's edgy outfit consisted of a sleeveless black sweatshirt with grommet detailing by Junya Watanabe x Stüssy, leather trousers from Alexander McQueen and black boots. However, he switched things up with a cozy knit from Hermès during the taping.

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Butler arrived in a black unbuttoned shirt, wearing a matching black pinstriped suit over, and boots. He also had on a thin silver chain necklace, proving that it's what one needs to complete any suit look.

Mexico City photocall

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Chalamet wore a sleeveless calf hair top from Hermès' yet-to-be-released Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection, matched with trousers and chunky leather boots. Butler, on the other hand, opted for something a little more relaxed with a simple white T-shirt under a grey unbuttoned three-piece by Givenchy.

Mexico City premiere

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The duo kept it smart in Mexico City. Chalamet wore a custom Prada suit and a black poplin v-neck shirt with what is decidedly his more experimental look thus far. The blazer was tucked in and accessorised with a double tour Prada belt.

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Butler rocked a striking pinstripe suit from Saint Laurent’s Spring/Summer 2024 ready-to-wear collection with cutting shoulders. Completing the look, he opted for a gold-buckled belt—not too excessive but also not too modest.

Paris photocall

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In Paris, the Dune lead stayed rather safe with a black turtleneck and sleek leather pants (notably a recurring trend with the actor) from Bottega Veneta's Spring/Summer 2023 collection. Cartier jewellery and a pair of Oliver Peoples sunglasses completed the easy look.

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Butler exuded effortless style in a monochromatic Fear of God ensemble, featuring loose-fit clothing with relaxed shoulders—a departure from his usual tailored suits. He completed the look with understated David Yurman jewellery.

Paris premiere

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Chalamet wore a custom shiny metal breastplate from Givenchy with a graphic turtleneck. He had also worn a black wool jacket featuring a notch lapel with matching wool trousers. Cartier accessories such as a platinum Cintrée timepieces from the Rééditions collection and a sizeable silver ring.

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Butler dressed smart in yet another Louis Vuitton ensemble, which consisted of a sharply tailored black jacket over a crisp white dress shirt, and a striking pair of flared pants reminiscent of the '70s. He kept it easy with a pair of black dress shoes, and a ring for a little hint of jewellery.

London photocall

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Chalamet's fish scale wool sweater was from Bottega Veneta’s women’s collection, reiterating that clothing has no gender. And if his legs looked longer than usual, that's all thanks to the chocolate brown leather pants matched with a set of Ripley Boots by Bottega Veneta as well.

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Butler was wearing a custom three-piece double-breasted suit by Louis Vuitton in an offbeat shade of grey. The unusually wide-lapel blazer and waistcoat, once again, blends a sense of timelessness with a contemporary twist that Butler tends to favour.

London premiere

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Chalamet reunited with designer Haider Ackermann, donning on metallic trousers that were difficult to not miss, and paired with an oversized black shirt. For accessories, he wore a custom Cartier necklace featuring invert-set diamonds in orange, yellow, brown, and white hues, designed to mimic the desert landscape in Dune.

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Butler's penchant for tailoring saw him taking on a black Sabato de Sarno for Gucci overcoat paired with a white vest. It's perhaps simple in execution but sleek and dramatic all the same.

Seoul photocall and press conference

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Chalamet was seen sporting powdery blue overalls from South Korean designer Juun.J's Spring/Summer 2024 collection, in a deliberate move to twin with fellow lead Zendaya. He finished off the look with simple silver necklaces and a pair of Chelsea boots in the same exact shade, sticking true to the runway look.

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Butler was also dressed in blue, opting for a Valentino suit with a silk shirt of a lighter shade. But instead of keeping to the monochromatic tones of the clothes, the footwear of choice was a black pair of dress shoes. A silver necklace completed the entire look.

Seoul premiere

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For Seoul's premiere, Chalamet chose a sleek white suit paired with black leather boots, both courtesy of Gucci. Continuing his partnership with Cartier, he wore a single Cartier diamond necklace for a touch of elegance—just one of his many moments with the luxury brand throughout the press tour.

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Butler kept it classic with a black pinstriped double-breasted suit layered over a white dress shirt, matching the entire ensemble with a black tie and black dress shoes.

Dune: Part Two will show in cinemas on 29 February 2024.

Everything about Megalopolis, as the name of Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming movie suggests, is suitably mega. Dubbed “Julius Caesar meets Blade Runner” by Mike Figgis, the director who is filming a behind-the-scenes doc on the project). From the cast (Adam Driver! Dustin Hoffman! Laurence Fishburne! Aubrey Plaza!) to the estimated USD120 million cost (self-funded by Coppola himself), there's a lot riding on the Coppola 23rd feature film.

It's apparently been in development since the ‘80s, but we're nearing showtime. Here’s everything about the production, and what to expect from one of the year’s biggest film releases.

When is Megalopolis out?

Pretty soon, as revealed by the director himself. In an Indie Wire article, Coppola said: “It’s only going to be a few months and it’ll be out.” He adds: “All I can say is I love the actors in it. It’s unusual, and it’s never boring. Other than that, wait and see.” Update: we’re still waiting and seeing.

Who is in Megalopolis?

The film, which finished shooting back in March 2023, has a cast list of stellar A-listers. This includes Adam Driver (playing Caesar), Forest Whitaker (Frank Cicero), Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza and Shia LaBeouf. On top of that, there’s Chloe Fineman, Kathryn Hunter, DB Sweeney, Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman, Bailey Ives, Grace Vanderwaal, James Remar, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Ex-Hollyoaks actor Nathalie Emmanuel, who appeared in in Game Of Thrones and will play Megalopolis's lead, Julia Cicero.

It’s a pretty big deal for Driver, too, who poured praise upon the legendary director in an interview with Collider“It has been one of the best—without hyperbole—best shooting experiences of my life," he said. "Watching him work that crew, that design team, he has such a command over cinematic language and an archive in his mind of shots that are so beautiful. And doing something so ambitious, and on his own terms, that you would think that it would be dictatorial or really controlled, but he is the most warm, open, thoughtful, director who is just…

“He really—and this all sounds like being very general, but he really embodies this thing of like, 'We're making this experiment and we're not interested in how it comes out. We're interested in the process of making it.' And inevitably because of that, the thing that you make, there's no film reference for. I think what he's made is so unique and interesting. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of it.”

What happens in Megalopolis?

As the official synopsis of the sci-fi movie has it: “In New York, a woman, Julia Cicero, is divided between loyalties to her father, Frank, who has a classical view of society, and her architect lover, Caesar, who is more progressive and ready for the future. He wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster.”

So, yes, it’s kind of a sci-fi modern retelling of the Caesar story, but Coppola told Deadline that he saw it as more of a love story. “I am grateful to be in the position to be able to make a film that haunts me and that I feel will be wonderful, that will shed light on the subject of what the future might be like and what human beings are really like. I am as happy as I could be.”

Coppola also shrugged off the rumours about unrest on set, following claims by The Hollywood Reporter that there was “chaos” on the production; that it was vastly over-budget and losing key creative talent, including the production designer and supervising art director, in addition to the entire visual effects team departing.

“Well, Apocalypse Now was out there being edited for months and months and months. And because it had been made in the Philippines, it was sort of mysterious. [With Megalopolis] it was much the same thing. A rumour starts out; there was a report about chaos. But the source was no source. From my point of view, I was on schedule, which, on a big, difficult movie, is hard to do,” Coppola said.

“I love my actors, and there is not one of them I would change. The movie has a style that went beyond my expectations. That’s sincerely how I feel. The most important thing is the life the film might have when eventually it cuts together and blossoms.”

Is there a trailer for Megalopolis yet?

Not yet, but keep checking back and we’ll drop it as soon as it happens.

Originally published on Esquire UK

Each step of Dune’s high fashion press tour—Timothée Chalamet (fresh from the chocolatier origins story Wonka), Zendaya, Florence Pugh and Austin Butler (currently tearing up the skies in Masters of the Air) provide enough star wattage to power a suburban town—leads to one place: the sequel.

That was not always inevitable: Dune is not exactly based on dream source material. American author Frank Herbert’s novel of the same name is unwieldy and takes several head-scratching turns (especially in its many, many spin-offs). It has been adapted twice before, with David Lynch’s—shall we call it divisive?—1984 film and an Emmy-winning TV series in 2000. But Villeneuve, the Canadian director behind Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, proved more than capable at turning dense text into a memorable triumph (splitting the novel in two was a good idea). A healthy box office, six Oscar wins and strike-related delays later, that sequel is almost upon us. But, uh, what actually happened in the first instalment of Villeneuve’s Dune? Prepare yourself for some pleasingly silly sci-fi names and plot points.

Where and when is Dune set?

Warner Bros Pictures

Dune takes place around 20,000 years in the future. In a world where noble houses are locked in an often-vicious power struggle over resources. The most important of which is “spice”, a substance which puts humans in an elevated state of mind and also allows for space travel. It can only be found on the planet Arrakis. Harvesting, though, is difficult because of the giant, desert-roaming sandworms, which you may recall from that nightmare-inducing popcorn bucket doing the rounds.

We enter the Duniverse when the head of House Atreides, Duke Leto (played by Oscar Isaac), is put in charge of Arrakis, an inhospitable desert planet, taking over from Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård, deliciously creepy). But as Leto takes over, Emperor Shaddam (who will be played by Christopher Walken in Dune: Part Two) and Baron Harkonnen plot to oust Leto. Another problem that will face House Atreides? Arrakis is home to the Fremen, who have adapted to survive in brutal conditions, though they are perceived as savages by the ruling classes.

Leto has a busy family life. His partner Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), is a follower of the Bene Gesserit, a group of women who have mind-reading abilities. The sisterhood had instructed Jessica to have a daughter who could become a clairvoyant saviour to humanity. Unfortunately for everyone involved, she had a son, Paul (Chalamet), who has an enviably sharp wardrobe and a blessed upbringing. His father’s aides, Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) and Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) teach him military combat. While his mum passes on teachings from the Bene Gesserit.

In the film, we watch as Paul develops frightening visions of the future, a recurring headache for the boy. And things do not stop there for Paul. Soon, the Reverend Mother (Charlotte Rampling) stops by to test his instincts. Using a deadly box into which Paul must stick his hand into before he passed out. She tells Baron Harkonnen that whatever his plans for House Atreides, he must not kill Paul and his mother.

Alongside these machinations, we learn about life on Arrakis (anyone familiar with the novel knows that its charm is in Herbert’s world-building). For example, the Fremen are respectful of Paul and Jessica thanks to some advance planning from the Bene Gesserit. Paul also catches sight of a sandworm and starts to have even more vivid premonitions thanks to the abundance of spice.

Warner Bros Pictures

Villeneuve’s pensive film picks up the pace with a failed assassination attempt on Paul. One of Leto’s aides, Wellington Yueh (Chang Chen), betrays his leader and disables the fortress’s shields. This allows the Harkonnens and ruthless Sardaukar soldiers to invade. Yueh paralyses Leto and inserts a poison gas capsule in his mouth. After Baron Harkonnen kills Yueh, Leto sets off the gas which results in a few Harkonnen deaths but not the Baron himself. The Baron orders Jessica and Paul to be dropped in the desert. But Yueh has left the pair with stillsuits (those breathing apparatus you see on Timmy and Zendaya in the trailer) which make survival a little more likely. The mother and son manage to escape thanks to Jessica’s deployment of a Bene Gesserit technique called the “voice”.

While traipsing through the desert, Paul and Jessica eventually reunite with Duncan and the ecologist Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster). In an excellent action sequence, we witness a Sardaukur ambush. There, Duncan sacrifices himself so Paul and Jessica can escape. Kynes, also seriously injured, calls for a sandworm in her dying moments, which kills the soldiers.

After this near-death sequence, Jessica and Paul bump into a tribe of Fremen. It is here that Paul meets blue-eyed Chani (Zendaya, making the most of her limited screen time). This is the girl about whom he has been dreaming. There is an instant, if mysterious, connection between them. But not everyone in the tribe is jazzed about Paul and one warrior, Jamis, challenges him to a duel. Paul wins (using a knife that Chani has provided) and thereby wins favour with the Fremen.

What happens next?

The stage is set for the second film. It will likely complete the adaptation of Herbert’s first book and deliver some well-earned revenge for Paul. It will also introduce Princess Irulan (Pugh) and Baron Harkonnen’s bald and deadly nephew Feyd-Rautha (Butler). If this film is a success, and God knows it should be, we may be getting an adaptation of Herbert’s follow-up, Dune: Messiah.

You can watch Dune on Netflix now. Dune: Part Two is in cinemas on 29 February.

Originally published on Esquire US

On 13 October 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed into a glacier in the Andes on its way from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile. Many of the 45 people on board were Uruguayan rugby players. The plane was ripped to pieces, killing passengers and crew immediately. And for the survivors, what happened in the following months was a excruciating descent into human survival: avalanches and hostile winds and most chilling of all, cannibalism. Only 16 people made it out of the mountains alive.

It is a remarkable story, absurdly ripe for retelling and adaptation. Many of the survivors have written books and who can blame them? That experience was likely cathartic and possibly sense-making. And everything about the story, from the hostile environment to the gruesome plot details, makes it ideal for the cinema. The most high-profile attempt was 1993’s Alive. An adaptation of British historian’s Piers Paul Read’s account of the crash, directed by Frank Marshall and starring Ethan Hawke. It has some terrific sequences but the overall thrust was a full-throttle embrace of Hollywood. One that's all hope and heroes and endurance.

There have, of course, been many other documentaries and podcasts and TV movies. And now we have another feature film: Society of the Snow, recently Oscar-nominated for Best International Feature. After its January release on Netflix, the Spanish-language film—surely a dark horse at the Academy Awards—became one of Netflix’s most watched non-English language films ever. It clocked in over 50 million views (and counting).

Thankfully, director J. A. Bayona (whose previous work includes another true-story disaster flick The Impossible and very much not true-story disaster flick Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is unafraid to go hard on the uglier parts of this story. At times, Bayona’s camera angles presents these beleaguered men—absurdly good-looking actors with enviable ‘70s flares and swooped fringes—as not quite human. Their facial features are distorted into the figures of a Goya painting. Conversely, when time comes for the cannibalism, because of course it must, Bayona eschews gross-out tactics and focuses on the practicalities. How to dismember the dead bodies, how to stomach the flesh (with plenty of ice to dilute the tastes). An unimaginable situation is presented as a how-to survival guide.

Liberties have been taken. For example, the survivors were rescued over two nights not in one fell swoop as the film depicts and you can read about those comparisons elsewhere. But what is more interesting is how Bayona chooses to frame this well-worn story. The film is narrated by law student Numa Turcatti, played by stand-out Enzo Vogrincic, who seems destined for big things. He is a rousing, philosophical addition to the men, whose presence is made doubly tragic by the fact that he was not really supposed to be there. He does not play for the team, and simply could not could not resist the relatively cheap flight to Chile. Turcatti—and perhaps this is a spoiler, so avert your eyes for a 50-year-old news item—does not make it out alive. Killing off the narrator two-thirds of the way through adds a fresh twist to a familiar tale.

With a run time of over two-and-a-half hours, Society of the Snow stretches a viewer’s limits. But the tediousness works, for what is more tedious than hoping? Over and over again, the rugby players head out on walks in an attempt to retrieve the plane’s engine where they hope that batteries stored. Over and over again, they try to make the radio work to make contact with the outside world (crushingly, they instead hear that the search party has moved on). There are some simplistic sentiments about the power of friendship. But mostly the film is an antidote to the real-life awards bait, which often blandly papers over survival stories. It is certainly miles ahead of other Netflix movies based on a true story (of which there are countless).

Towards the end, as the players are washed and cleaned in hospital—a sequence that should feel euphoric, but lands with a thud—we see their starved bodies for the first time without clothing. Throughout, they have been layered in sweaters and coats, the reveal has the effect of a twist ending. You expect to see them as superheroes, but they are skeletal. It neatly evokes the confusing aftermath of traumatic events. In real life, there was indeed public backlash after stories of the men’s cannibalism broke. Bayona’s resistance of a Hollywood ending gives the men the complexity they deserve. And it is also what makes Society of the Snow linger long after the credits. Hope persists, yes, but so does terror.

Society of the Snow is available on Netlix now.

Originally published on Esquire UK

A24

If you like movies – and by movies, we mean stories that make you think – then you’ve undoubtedly heard of A24, a name that (arguably) singlehandedly brought original storytelling back to the people, and did it without the backing of big Hollywood studios who would have resorted to referring to filmmaking as ‘the content industry’ (barf).

From Uncut Gems and Ex Machina, to 2022’s Oscar winner The Whale, and now, more recently, the lauded Korean tearjerker, Past Lives, A24 produces movies that are cool. But as Alfred Hitchcock once said, “There are three things that make a good film: the script, the script and the script.”

So, if you’ve ever wanted to get your hands on not just a slew of the original screenplays brought to life by the minds at A24, but also want to plant a cultural flag on your coffee table, then we have the gift for you.

Ari Aster’s Hereditary, as presented in A24’s original screenplay coffee table book. A24

Consisting of not only the original screenplay, but a slew of original and BTS images, details about the film, crosswords, and more, this is the perfect addition to any cinephile or aspiring screenwriter’s living room.

“We started developing the first screenplay books in 2018 as we were expanding our merch offerings,” says the head of brand at A24. “We wanted to create something collectible, like a coffee-table book, that showcased how a filmmaker’s vision gets translated from script to screen.”

To remind you of A24’s excellent cinematic library, here’s a scene of Oscar Isaac tearing up the dancefloor in the eerily prescient, Ex Machina (which, obviously, is available as a screenplay in the collection).

Cop one here and follow A24 on Instagram.

Originally published on Esquire ME

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