It’s almost impossible to watch The Club today without referring back to Spotlight – a film, which everyone loved, but nobody expected to win the very main Academy Award this year. Both films discuss a difficult and disturbing topic of sexual harrassment in the walls of Catholic Church – in Spotlight, these walls are constantly moved whils in the Club the walls are thicker than what they hold inside.
Pablo Larrain is the director of one of the most motivating films I watched – NO. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do immediately, however, watching the Club straight afterwards might be a surprising experience. The Club has little to do with NO, but Larrain’s sensibility to make unheard voices loud is in both of them.
In the words of distributor:
Four men live together in a secluded house in a small, seaside town. Each of them has been sent to this place to purge sins from the past. They live according to a strict regime under the watchful eye of a female caretaker when the fragile stability of their routine is disrupted by the arrival of a fifth man, a newly-disgraced companion bringing with him the past they thought they had left behind.
So, as you can imagine the film is dark. It’s beautifully dark. The pace is really slow, but it allows us to give our full attention to incredible directorial choices Larrain made when filming the surrounding. The time seems to always be dusking or dawning, the world always covered in fog. The images speak more than the words in the Club, although words, when spoken, are painful and disturbing.
Although, it was Spotlight which I cried through hearing the stories of the vitims, here the descriptions are much more direct. They seem almost vulgar when put against the raw, innocent environment it is filmed in. The nature, the cottage house, the sea.
What I loved about the Club is that it remains ambiguous all the way through. By introducing two characters to the cult-like cottage house structure, Larrain puts its viewers in an uncomfortable chair: the priests are obviouslt guilty of certain crimes and yet, we hope they will find themselves rather than get the punishment worse than they’re already subjected to. It is also the way they are being punished by the sins from the past – by life in isolation, which in reality seems more like letting them hide themselves rather than face the facts.
And some of them are homosexuals who didn’t commit any crimes. We want them to be loved.
But I didn’t like the Club as much as I liked NO and not because it was painful and complex, or slower than NO. Somehow, it left me cold and maybe a little bored. Maybe I wish Larrain made a statement of a sort.
THE CLUB directed by Pablo Larraín is in UK cinemas 25 March with a Special Preview Screening and Panel Discussion at Curzon Soho on Monday 21st March 6.20pm #TheClubFilm
The Club was
Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, The Golden Globes 2015
Winner of Silver Bear – Grand Jury Prize,
Berlin International Film Festival 2015
and is coming out next week.