Happy Times Will Come Soon Screen 71 of 7 reviews

Happy Times Will Come Soon

2016

Happy Times Will Come Soon Poster
  • Comodin’s film burns itself to your brain, just as a pair of sapphire-glazed eyes blaze deeply against the viridian dark. Spectral and enchanting, its three sections inspect human desire, communion with nature, and more, slyly building greater significance and perplexity as the film progresses. When pieced together, it even creates a sort of narrative ouroboros. Unclassifiably brilliant.

  • The homage is spot-on: like Bresson, Happy Times Will Come Soon evidences Comodin’s feeling for moods and ideas that defy verbal expression with a restraint that speaks as much to the means at his disposal as to his aversion to embellishment and the seriousness with which he regards the film’s subjects. Which isn’t to say that Happy Times Will Come Soon is humorless or too tightly-wound—far from it, the film is as open and airy as any I have seen this year.

  • Markers of time and place are also disorientingly absent in one of the festival’s genuine whatsits, Happy Times Will Come Soon. The film proceeds in cryptic leaps: a long passage following two young fugitives in the wild, a series of talking heads recounting a local lupine folk legend, a loose dramatization of that myth, and so on... [The film,] though perhaps too obviously beholden to the likes of Lisandro Alonso and Apichatpong, contained some of the most haunting passages of the festival.

  • The frustration of interpreting Comodin’s film is somewhat mollified, at least, by its surfeit of honey-drizzled mood. Making tactile, deep-shadowed use of film stock, cinematographer Tristan Bordmann routinely casts a siesta-time afternoon glow over proceedings, with sunlight trickling through woodland ceilings like water through a colander. Comodin’s music cues, meanwhile, are eccentrically all over the map.

  • Comodin may or may not have had any destination in mind when he was making it. But Happy Times is more concerned with the film as a map itself than a route (it certainly couldn’t care less about the destination). A final line speaks about leading an existence despite being “from nowhere,” delivered right after the Irish prison ballad “The Auld Triangle” plays non-diegetically in its entirety — completing its assortment of directions we might be curious to follow.

  • Comodin tries to work out a new filmic vocabulary that merges realistic fiction with fable—fracturing time, tracing out just the barest outline of each character and situation, sometimes mixing realism with surrealism, and lingering so long on shots in which the action barely changes that he all but forces us to be in the moment with him. But while the director creates many individual moments of beauty, his film is a mélange of gorgeous tiles that never quite comes together as a mosaic.

  • This is an interesting film, to be sure, but one that fails in part because the filmmaker is so in thrall to another artist's vision (in this case, Apichatpong Weerasethakul), that there's not much to do but count the tropes and gestures as they click by... There's a sense that in watching Happy Times Will Come Soon, we are staring at the next five or ten years of festival films, with a select bundle of parries and tics, and it just feels discouraging.

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