Sunday, November 28

Despite his personal crises, Johnny Depp shines in a new adventure in Japan

The new movie is one of the most important works that highlighted Johnny Depp’s artistic abilities away from fantasy and adventure roles.

Actor Johnny Depp has gone through a series of successive crises since 2019, most notably the cases brought against him by his ex-wife, Amber Heard, by abusing her during their marriage, against which he raised other cases to prove that she was the offending person, and many forgot in all this chaos that Depp was one of the brightest stars Of his generation, the most famous and popular of his generation, his new movie Minamata passed without much of the attention it deserved.

The film has not yet been shown in the United States, where the Metro-Golden Mayer company delays in setting the date, despite the accusation by director Andrew Levitas that it is burying the film and refusing to show it, and its premiere came at the Berlin Film Festival and then in the United Kingdom, Japan and many countries around the world.

A meeting between cinema and photography

The film Minamata, based on a true story, revolves around the seventies of the last century, about the famous photographer Eugene Smith, who works for Life magazine, and is invited by a Japanese-American girl named Eileen to photograph the environmental disaster that occurs in the small city of Minamata, as a result of water pollution from the waste of a large factory, It is an issue that the Japanese government overlooks, although its victims are more than a generation of children with terrifying congenital anomalies, which prompts Eugene – who was suffering from bankruptcy and depression – to sympathize with the issue, and goes on a trip to present one of his most important photographic works. .

The Minamata film represents a point of convergence between the art of photography, and the art that developed from it, which is the “cinema” which is called the art of moving images. One of the most famous photographs in history and one of the most important photographers, it was necessary to create a middle ground between the two arts.

We find this clear in the manner of filming Minamata, which focuses continuously on framing frames, or selecting them in a way similar to what happens in photographs and taking care of what appears in them, then stability in movement during cinematography, so that the viewer feels that he is in front of a fixed photograph, especially with similar images When Eugene filmed it himself during his two-year trip in Minamata.

Johnny Depp and the hero’s journey

Johnny Depp is famous for introducing characters that require makeup that changes many of his features, and a complete reincarnation, such as Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, or the crazy hat maker in “Alice in Wonderland”, but this time the role of a real character, with a well-known appearance. And very natural, but Depp was also able to approach the shape and spirit of the character as he does with fictional characters, so we find him in terms of appearance identical to Eugene during this age period, in addition to his special touch that certainly made the character charming.

The Minamata movie was written according to what is called in the world of script the “hero’s journey”, a formula used to build the plots of films according to certain steps that attract the viewer, based mainly on ancient folk legends analyzed by the scientist Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”, and director George declared Lucas after the success of the movie “Star Wars” that it was the basis on which the work was built, and it became like a magic recipe for the most famous films after that.

The hero’s ideal journey consists of certain stages, starting with the usual world of the character, then the call to adventure, rejecting the call, then the journey itself, and the guide that helps the hero to overcome difficulties and introduce him to the new world, then the stage of death or loss, and then the gathering of the self and achieving victory, and returning with the elixir The magical, the purpose and the requirement that the hero is looking for from the beginning.

In Minamata, the ordinary world of the hero is filled with grief. The prestigious Life magazine loses its readers and financial support, Eugene lives on subsistence and cannot provide for his children, and he receives a call for adventure from Eileen, a Japanese American who invites him to help, but he refuses the call at first until he is convinced and begins his journey in Japan And there he struggles to perform his mission, whether against the authorities and the giant factory behind him, or his self-doubts.

Death comes in the form of burning his photo-processing plant with its originals and copies, then hitting him in one of the vigils to lose sight in one of his eyes, and here the magical elixir is represented in one of the greatest and most famous images in history that bore the name “Tomoko and the mother in the bath” (Tomoko) and Mother in the Bath), and represents one of the victims of environmental pollution, a teenager who did not see the light in her life, whose mother washes her in the old Japanese way.

The subject of the Minamata movie clearly tends to be intense melodrama, as it talks about tragedy in the literal sense of the word, and generations of deformed children, so it was natural for this character to prevail over the film, which was based on clearly eliciting the feelings of viewers.

He used in this the clear contrast between the aesthetics of cinematography and photography during the events of the film, the ugliness and tragedy of the subject, and to clarify the ability to find beauty in the most sad subjects.

But in the end, Minamata remains one of the most important works that highlighted Johnny Depp’s artistic abilities away from the roles of fantasy and adventure, and it may be his ticket back to cinema and Hollywood.

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