One year ago, I went to see the most famous Italian director Roberto Rossellini’s wonderful film, Joker. The film is based on the legendary (or is it infamous?) novel of the same name by the Austrian writer, Kurt Szymanowski. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical going into the film as I had never read the book and the Hollywood treatment of the Joker seemed a little too Pciture-ish to my taste. On the other hand, I remembered that Rossellini’s movie The Leopard, which I also saw last year, was unanimously hailed as a masterpiece and I decided to give this one a try as well.
My fears were completely unfounded. Rossellini’s Joker is a poetic and haunting meditation on life and death. The legendary performance by the Swedish actor Roy Scheider as the Joker will certainly remain forever in the memories of those who see the film. However, what really stuck with me was not Scheider’s performance but the great cinematography by the legendary Laszlo Kovacs. It feels like a lifetime since I last saw a film with such a strikingly beautiful ending.
Then, not too long ago, I got a call from my friend, the artist Bjorn Winther. He told me that he had just spent the day with the wonderful photographer Robert Pattinson and they had made some very interesting shots for a potential fashion spread. While I was extremely skeptical at first, I decided to give this one a try as well, especially since I’m a big fan of Pattinson’s work and was curious to see how he would adapt to fashion photography. The result was stunning!
It’s been over a year and it feels almost like a dream that I get to write a review about such an amazing film. I don’t know if it’s because these last few months have been particularly stressful or whether it’s because Joker hangs over us like a brilliant sunflower, illuminating every dark corner of our existence. But I think it’s fair to say that our world didn’t feel the same afterwards. It wasn’t just that Joker was released a year ago, it felt like it had been published yesterday. Especially since yesterday is Halloween, which is why, even today, we’re finding it difficult to go back to our previous lives. Life is funny that way. It keeps on giving and no matter how deep we think we are, we’re still just little kids playing in the mud.
What I loved most about Joker is how it confronts us with our own mortality. The way it shows us that life is short and flimsy. It could be over in the blink of an eye and no matter what we do, it’s never good enough. It’s easy to criticize and judge. It’s much harder to understand and accept. These are the lessons that Robinson’s Joker teaches us. It’s not about being villainous, it’s about being human and understanding that we’re not alone. We’re surrounded by people who care about us and who want the best for us. Even if they don’t say it often enough, we need to hear it. Now more than ever, in fact, since Donald Trump has taken over as President of the United States and demeaned the office of the President in the process. It’s vital that we find the good in this world and in ourselves. The Joker is a testament to that. He may be a trickster and a criminal but deep down, he’s a hero. He’s the hero that we need to believe in now more than ever.