The Edge of Glory…Except the Exact Opposite

One yay, one nay, one maybe, and one observation pertaining to The Edge of Democracy:

Yay: it understands that art’s better at diagramming and diagnosing the complexity of a malady than proposing definitive cures; the latter tends to reduce the nuance of the former. Which doesn’t mean artists must eradicate any and all traces of their own POVs from their work. Rather, they let the audience glean their own lessons from and in regards to what’s being covered.

Nay: too much of The Edge of Democracy is comprised of the auteur’s subjective perspective masquerading as objective history. A solution: instead of relaying Brazil’s governmental past, Petra Costa could’ve approached the issue through the lens that she has the most intimate knowledge of: her own story, and her family’s, and how both reflect, intersect, and affected Brazil’s macro narrative, a true merging of the personal and political. She periodically delves into this territory, but these scenes feel more tacked on, mere examples to illustrate some of her larger points. If the structure had interwoven this material throughout, the balance would’ve created more enlightening resonances.

Maybe: the closing credits begin with a prolonged moment of silence…and then the typical instrumental accompaniment sets in. By extending this absence of sound throughout the scroll, we’d be forced to dwell on the film’s haunting last note, leaving us with nothing but our thoughts, hopefully concerning the aforementioned remedies. If we don’t figure out the problems with democracy just addressed, society may start to seem like credits sans music: there’s a void in this emptiness.

Observation: If you’re wondering how filmmakers feel about the state of the world right now, look no further than these 2019 titles: The Edge of Democracy; What Is Democracy?; The Fall of the American Empire; The Last Black Man in San Francisco; At War; Woman at WarCaptive State; The Brink; Wall; I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians; Who Will Write Our History?; Prosecuting Evil; Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile; The Dead Don’t Die; Hail Satan?; The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot. And that’s only the explicit ones! Many more movies this year have dealt with our current climate chaos.

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