Flashmag Digizine Edition Issue 107 July 2020 - Page 158

Flashmag July 2020 www.flashmag.net

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The first English-language feature from the director Gerardo Naranjo, “Viena and the Fantomes,” has been kicking around for quite some time. In late 2015 one online film site predicted it would be part of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival lineup. That didn’t work out. Only now is it seeing the light of day on demand. On watching it, one understands why.

Dakota Fanning plays Viena, a young woman who attaches herself as a roadie to a band called The Fantomes, in an indeterminate era sometime between punk and grunge.

The touring caravan of grime here is the antithesis of the sweet busload of rock love seen in the 2000 film “Almost Famous,” which for all its dewy romanticism remains the high point of a dubious subgenre. As people, the members of the Fantomes are nasty, trivial and boring. Their music sounds like backing tracks for, say, failed follow-up singles by After the Fire, hoping to capitalize on the success of their cover of Falco’s “Der Kommissar.” There’s a lot of chipped nail polish and weeks-old eyeliner on everyone. The movie nevertheless operates on the fallacy that the mere fact of being concerned with a band suffices to generate interest.

The Mexican-born Naranjo, best known for the showy 2011 thriller “Miss Bala,” here depicts the toxic gender relations of young louts — culminating in assault, forced drugging, and general grossness and incoherence — with a stoic grimness that wants to look like resigned wisdom. It’s not.

Initial release: June 30, 2020

Director: Gerardo Naranjo

Written by: Gerardo Naranjo

Music composed by: Will Patterson

Produced by: Charles Cantrell, Becky Glupczynski, Hunter Gray, Kevin Iwashina, Jason Carter Miller, Fred Mossler, Alex Orlovsky

Sources The NY Times

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Viena Fantomes Geraldo Naranjo