‘Dragged Across Concrete’ — a sentiment that applies to both of these movies:
Dragged Across Concrete
A deconstructing troll of a jest, fooling around — in the classic AND contemporary sense — with indiscriminately-provocative depictions of hot-button issues, the sort that get offenders dragged across Twitter/social media/mass media nowadays: Racism! Sexism! Capitalism! Other isms! The banality of violence, and its glorification! Police brutality! Political correctness! Masculinity (toxic and otherwise)! Mel Gibson! And how all of the above is represented in art! Our sociopolitical moment is the sandbox, and the movie’s recklessly, deliberately erected castles embody our ugliness. What it all means, what it’s all trying to say — if anything — is entirely up to you to build, and rebuild, and keep remodeling.
Class makes a space, and its politics — along with those of gender — are profoundly intertwined with the copious meaning that can be derived from how we move through those spaces, a reflection of how we navigate and maneuver through the inextricable sociopolitical hierarchies of gender, class, and space. The similarities to Son of Saul, László Nemes’s prior outing, go beyond the shared aesthetic; the first-person portraiture of the cinematography — we rarely leave the respective main characters’ sides, often literally — captures the singular focus of their impassioned pursuits: to reclaim symbols of legacy that can transcend death. In Saul, it’s a funeral burial. In Sunset, it’s the role the memory of her brother plays in her life, and to the society around her. The maximal-minimal nature of their plights — they’re maximally focused on minimally specific tasks — also describes the visuals: our sight is minimized so as to only see what they see, but this exacting minimalism has the effect of maximizing how much we feel their place in the world, a form of immersive, experiential cinema.