La Chimera review: A magnificent, soulful, patient, and distinguished film

Karishma Jangid
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La Chimera

Italian filmmaker Alice Rohrwacher's period romantic drama 'La Chimera' starring Josh O’Connor and Isabella Rossellini was screened at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023. 

As per the dictionaries, chimera translates to ‘pie in the sky’ or fantasy, something that you want to achieve but are unable to find. To Arthur (Josh O’Connor), his chimera is Beniamina, his wife, who is no longer alive. Arthur, a sulky, lost Italian man, has a passion for archaeology. He gets divine visions that show him the location of buried Etruscan tombs. Motivated by his friends, he uses this gift to rob the Etruscan graves and sell the antique objects. He has the gift of finding lost things; the only things he can't find are Beniamina and peace, which are the same to him actually. When Arthur returns from jail, his friends prod him to rob graves again. But this time, he meets Italia (Isabella Rossellini), a supposed music student of his mother with secrets of her own. Italia looks for security, and Arthur looks for his chimera.

Also Read: In Our Day review: This film shows art within art but lacks strength

La Chimera is perhaps one of the most soulful movies of recent times. The plot takes its time to develop, but it develops ever so smoothly that it touches your soul. It is the kind of art that you carry home with you in your heart. The glances and the shots speak more than the dialogue. The film never shies away from experimenting with the camera and captures human gestures aesthetically. The film deals with an array of themes- folklore, attraction, archaeology, crime, and family but never does it hurry. It slowly, beautifully, and meaningfully arrives at its conclusion, which is also sublime in its own way. Adding strength to this film are O’Connor and Rossellini. O'Connor looks lost, pitiable, secretive, and, in some moments, confident. And Rossellini overpowers him every time they share the screen. She is childlike yet smart and soft yet strong.

With La Chimera, Alice Rohrwacher has given us two hours of cinematic and artistic bliss that only a few movies manage to provide. It is distinguished in its charm and patient in its narration. It is magnificent and humble at the same time, making it a very soothing watch.

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La Chimera La Chimera review