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Home Culture ‘Ex-husbands’: that simple depth of American ‘indie’ from the nineties | Culture

‘Ex-husbands’: that simple depth of American ‘indie’ from the nineties | Culture

by News Room
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In the nineties there was one of these in theaters every month. But now they have become singularities. Films with the scent of Sundance, of light and somber independence, refreshing and complex, have disappeared from the map. Or almost. Many of those filmmakers faded along the way after a more or less long period of triumph (Alexandre Rockwell, Hal Hartley, Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith, Allison Anders); others became renowned stars (Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Richard Linklater, Alexander Payne). But the truth is that that cinema indie of the nineties, so diverse in terms of styles and objectives, is somewhat missed despite having later fallen into cliché.

Ex husbands, Noah Pritzker’s second film, released in the official competition section of the 2023 San Sebastian festival, has some of those tics. Also a good part of his blessed virtues. Above all, that simple depth about some of the most complex themes of the human condition, exposed through characters between the earthly and the bizarre, and described with an exquisite sense of humor, often coming from one of the fathers of everything. that: Woody Allen. Here, with a topic that overwhelms: male loneliness across three generations.

A first, that of the grandfather, which is skipped over, but which in its few minutes is described with infinite grace and high doses of acid criticism. The second, that of the man in his sixties played by Griffin Dunne, fallen into the misfortune of heartbreak after many years of marriage; and the last, that of the two grandchildren, in their early thirties and twenties, who must deal with some of the worst evils of contemporary times, among them, job insecurity, superficiality in relationships, and the difficulties of establishing themselves as adults in a generation that seems to have been born to suffer and not to enjoy.

All of them, each in their own way, are different types of ex-husbands abandoned by time, by women and by themselves. Alone in a universe that they do not fully understand, and developed by screenwriter Pritzker with singular honesty. Now, far from the vaunted crisis of man around the old model, since, except for a tertiary character, in the failed bachelor party on which a good part of the story focuses there is no trace of that animal masculinity of a fundamental work, precisely from another of the fathers of independence, John Cassavetes, with whom Pritzker may have played in his title: Husbands (1970).

The names of Cassavetes or Allen might be huge for a film like Ex husbands, but not so much others from those nineties, like that Edward Burns who for a short period of time made us fall in love with The McMullen Brothers (nineteen ninety five). In fact, if you review Burns’ later work you will see that he has aged worse than badly in his view of women. (She is unique, the most). Something that in no way happens with Pritzker, who, although focused on men, presents women in secondary roles who may be indecisive with the most banal things, but who are energetic and judicious when it comes to what is most relevant.

With three magnificent actors at the helm (Dunne, and that facility of his for the most bittersweet naturalness, here alongside Rosanna Arquette, in a nod to Wow, what a night! James Norton, more technical with his drooping eyes and rictus of the mouth, and the young revelation of Miles Heizer), the film knows how to enter the twilight hour from the comic bitterness of good cinema.

Ex husbands

Address: Noah Pritzker.

Interpreters: Griffin Dunne, James Norton, Miles Heizer, Rosanna Arquette.

Gender: comedia. EU, 2023.

Duration: 99 minutes.

Premiere: June 7.

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