|Playground 2022 Movie Review, Trailer, Cast, and Watch Online|
Film Review, Trailer, Cast, and Online Streaming of Playground 2022
Through the tearful eyes of a child fighting against their first day of school, writer/director Laura Vandel introduces us to the microcosm of her heart-wrenching debut “Playground”, Belgium’s Best International Feature Film Award Oscar entry.
Cinema has seen many explorations on the subject of bullying, but this is rarely the case. Wandell’s observational effort is distinguished by the immediacy of its images, with jaw-dropping performances in their realism. It’s almost impossible to understand that “Playground” isn’t a non-fiction work documenting the interactions of grade school children, similar to the French documentary “To Be and to Have” 20 years earlier.
In fact, it seems fitting that the film’s original French title, “Un Munde”, translates to “A World”, as the same Vandel opens, the path back to the level of life many of us have buried beneath our memories. may have been delivered. As if being shrugged and placed back in one’s formative days, the camera remains at the height of the children. Adults only come inside the frame as to the torso and legs until they drop to the students’ eye level.
Our approach matches that of shy Nora (Maya Vanderbeck), a seven-year-old girl struggling to adapt to her new environment of excessive sensory stimulation and over-socialization. As she slowly tries to make friends, she notices her brother Abel (Günter Durett), who is a few grades above her, is subjected to violent harassment from the older boys. He does not defend himself, nor does he wish to inform his father of the ongoing, seriously dangerous, abuse.
Wandell portrays the brutality that people at this tender age are capable of doing with an impeccable visual clarity. Still, the deepest suffering does not come from the abuse, but from Abel’s passivity to it and his eventual transition into victimhood that redefines sibling dynamics. Shame and despair fills a sea between them.
Nora’s strong sense of justice, still righteous given her inexperience with the impracticality of existence, prevents her from understanding it to fit Abel’s desperation, which would be considered a weakness. But apparently, she’s not untouched by that desire to belong, and when an invitation to a classmate’s birthday party is maliciously turned down, her reaction paints the event as a tragedy. In terms of what matters to him, it certainly is.
While the acting of both Durrett and Vanderbeck – without fear of exaggeration – is miraculous, the latter’s appearance on screen speaks to an innate sensitivity to externalize a person’s internal complexities. How Vandel managed to encourage and shape such a turn must be sheer alchemy. Working almost exclusively in tight close-ups, cinematographer Frédéric Noirhomme immortalized the untold: his look of despair, a gesture of hurtful nostalgia, proving that the Age of Innocence is not without darkness.
The “playground” never leaves the educational institution. There are no scenes in the young protagonist’s house or in the park. His whole universe, as we see it, begins and ends at the school gate. Sometimes the spaces highlight the rules and tropes associated with prison, where there is a specific code of conduct and a specific code of conduct to follow in order to survive. The negative psychological effects of his time are amplified with limited compositions and vigorous camera movement.
By broadening the reach of his film’s subjects, Wandell adds another layer of insecurity by relating the influence of others to how we perceive where we fit into society. Nora questions her father every day about the free time to drop off school and pick them up. She questions why he doesn’t spend his days doing things like other fathers, because having a different home experience induces separation.
When we are young, we are impressionable and emotionally malleable before we fully realize life’s many dangers. We can do this with the lens of wonder when we remember about childhood. But, for the time being, the pain can feel overwhelming. Composed of new faces unable to lie to the camera, “Playground” is a study of human behavior wrapped in equal parts fear and curiosity. With a brilliant new director nurturing its drama and being aware of how every audiovisual element contributes to its power, the film, intimate in its scope but grand in its revelations, gives us it all. Drowns in Nora’s crusade to understand. This is the first feature of Wandell that boggles the mind.
Source: Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com, Direct News 99