Saturday, August 20, 2022


Jordan Peele: Nope (US 2022).

US © 2022 Universal Pictures. PC: Monkeypaw Productions. Presented in association with: Dentsu. P: Jordan Peele, Ian Cooper.
    D+SC: Jordan Peele. DP: Hoyte Van Hoytema – 65 mm – IMAX – released in D-Cinema. PD: Ruth De Jong. AD: Samantha Englender. Set dec: Gene Serdena. Cost: Alex Bovaird. Makeup: Shutchai Tym Buacharern. Hair: Carla Farmer. Cloud tank footage: Zack Berwick. VFX: Future Associate, MPC, SSVFX M: Michael Abels. S: Johnnie Burn. ED: Nicholas Monsour. Casting: Carmen Cuba.
    C: Daniel Kaluuya (OJ Haywood), Keke Palmer (Emerald Haywood), Brandon Perea (Angel Torres), Michael Wincot (Antlers Holst), Steven Yeun (Ricky "Jupe" Park), Wrenn Schmidt (Amber Park), Keith David (Otis Haywood, Sr.), Devon Graye (Ryder Muybridge), Terry Notary (Gordy).
    Film within the film: Eadweard Muybridge: Plate 626 Gallop; thoroughbred bay mare Annie G. from Animal Locomotion (US 1885).
    Production: Firestone Ranch (Santa Clarita, CA), Agua Dulce Canyon (CA), 7 June 2021.
    130 min
    US premiere: 18 July 2022, wide release 22 July 2022.
    Finnish premiere: 19 Aug 2022 – released by Finnkino with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Toni Koskelainen / Joanna Erkkilä.
    Viewed at Finnkino Strand, Iso Kristiina, Lappeenranta, 20 Aug 2022.

SYNOPSIS (Universal Pictures):

" The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery. "

" After random objects falling from the sky result in the death of their father, ranch-owning siblings OJ and Emerald Haywood attempt to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object with the help of tech salesman Angel Torres and documentarian Antlers Holst. "
– Universal Pictures

"I will cast abominable filth upon you, make you vile and make you a spectacle."
– Nahum 3:6, the Bible verse that opens the film

AA: Two remarkable new wave horror films premiered in Finland yesterday: Julia Ducournay's Titane and Jordan Peele's Nope.

To their impact of the uncanny belongs the difficulty to define them. They are genre films avoiding genre conventions.

Much more than in average horror fare, the characters are interesting, memorable and well played. The human presence is engaging and appealing but the film is not anthropocentric. Instead, the world view is close to H. P. Lovecraft's idea of cosmicism. "Humanity is an insignificant part of the cosmos" which "could be swept away at any moment", to quote Wikipedia. Nope is Lovecraftian horror.

It is an unforgettable visual experience. A haunting meditative energy radiates from Hoyte Van Hoytema's subtly grandiose IMAX cinematography. Like in Nomadland, there is a dimension of self-reflection of the Western iconography of the desert and the mountains. The West has been won, but there are still unfathomable mysteries on the Western sky.

In novel ways, Nope is also a self-reflection of the visual media, from Eadweard Muybridge's chronophotographs to live television shows and the current transition to digital cinematography. Digital has won, but photochemical film survives in high profile productions such as Nope.

Nope is a philosophical quest, too, an essay in the themes of perception and consciousness. Instead of Plato's shadows on the cave wall, we have clouds in the sky hiding and revealing creatures of infinite horror.

A fine sense of humour and a wisdom in dealing with racist currents are further hallmarks of Jordan Peele's cinema. Humans fight the alien with ingenious wit and a fighting spirit.

Perhaps the most original feature of Nope is its refusal to succumb to pessimism and defaitism in the face of overwhelming evil.

In pandemic times mankind has shifted to streaming and other home viewing. Nope belongs to the masterpieces of a purely cinematic spectacle art. It needs to be seen on a huge cinema screen.

P.S. 1 Sep 2022. Thinking further about Nope I am playing with the dream association of colonialism: the appearance of a superior military power (Europe) in other continents during the centuries of colonialization.



" In 1998, on the soundstage for the sitcom Gordy's Home, the titular chimpanzee animal actor attacks several of its co-stars after being startled by the pop of a balloon. The show's youngest actor, Ricky "Jupe" Park, hides under a table and is unharmed, though traumatized by the experience. The chimp finds Jupe and extends his hand for a fist bump, before being shot dead by authorities."

"In the present day, ranch owner Otis Haywood Sr. trains and handles horses for film and television productions. When he is killed by a nickel through the eye that falls inexplicably from the sky, his children Otis Jr. ("OJ") and Emerald ("Em") inherit the ranch. OJ tries to keep the business afloat and maintain his father's legacy, while Em seeks fame and fortune in Hollywood. The Haywoods claim that the unnamed jockey in "Plate 626" from Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion series of photographs was their ancestor."

"Six months later, while filming a commercial with prominent cinematographer Antlers Holst, one of the horses reacts violently when the crew startles it, and the Haywoods are fired from the project. The ranch's financial woes have forced OJ to sell horses to a grown-up Jupe, who operates the nearby Jupiter's Claim, a small Western theme park where he exploits his story of the Gordy's Home massacre for profit. Jupe offers to buy the ranch from the Haywoods, an offer which Em encourages OJ to accept. That night, the Haywoods notice their electricity fluctuating and their horses vanishing and violently reacting to an unknown presence. They discover an unidentified flying object (UFO) shaped like a flying saucer that has been devouring their horses and spitting out any inorganic debris, which caused their father's death. Motivated by a desire for wealth and fame, the siblings decide to document evidence of the UFO's existence, and recruit Fry's Electronics employee Angel Torres to set up surveillance cameras. Electrical interference from the UFO and a praying mantis on one of the cameras prevent them from getting clear footage, but Angel notices a nearby cloud that never moves. They deduce that it is the UFO's hiding place."

"Jupe introduces a live show in Jupiter's Claim and plans to use a horse as bait to lure out the UFO, having fed it the horses he bought from the Haywoods, in front of a paying audience. The UFO arrives but devours Jupe and the entire audience. OJ deduces that the UFO is not a spaceship, but a predatory, territorial creature which eats anything that looks directly at it. Utilizing similar methods to those used to break and train horses, OJ believes they can influence the creature's behavior to capture footage of it without being killed. Dubbing the creature "Jean Jacket", the Haywoods decide to hire Holst for assistance. Holst initially refuses, but eventually reconsiders after hearing about the Jupiter's Claim incident."

"To circumvent Jean Jacket's effects on electronics, Holst brings a hand-cranked film camera to capture footage. With Angel, the group work out a plan to bait out Jean Jacket and watch a field of scattered tube man props for electrical malfunctions to deduce its location in the sky. However, a TMZ reporter trespasses onto the field and is thrown from his electric motorcycle when it shuts down near Jean Jacket. He is devoured by Jean Jacket while begging OJ to film the event. Though Holst captures footage of Jean Jacket, he lets himself be eaten along with his camera, forcing the remaining three to flee. Angel survives an attack from Jean Jacket by becoming entangled in tarp and barbed wire, causing the creature to unfurl from its saucer shape to a jellyfish-like form."

"OJ lures Jean Jacket away from Em, while she rushes to Jupiter's Claim on the motorcycle and untethers its giant balloon mascot. She uses an attraction's analog camera to photograph Jean Jacket as it flies overhead and attempts to eat the balloon, which explodes and seemingly kills it. With the picture as proof of the creature's existence and reporters arriving nearby, Em sees an unharmed OJ ride to Jupiter's Claim
. "

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