La Chimera (15)

La Chimera

Set in the 1980s, in the former Etruscian landscape of rural Italy, the film follows a vagabond-type character called Arthur (Josh O’Connor); an Englishman who embodies the spirit of the Romantics, he is searching for something he can’t quite grasp. As an archaeologist, he makes use of his unique skills to aid a ragtag group of tomboroli - local graverobbers - to find ancient tombs filled with artefacts to sell on the black market. To the locals these graves are sacred, believing curses follow those who enter. But Arthur, who is mourning the loss of his love Beniamina, is less concerned with the monetary value of the objects, using the digs to search for the door to the afterlife - of which myths speak - where he imagines reuniting with her. A cloud of mystery follows him as he walks the line between the living and the dead, between reality and trickery, between the past and the present. Bringing him into the present is Italia (Carol Duarte), a single mother who befriends him and opens his eyes to the world in new ways.

The Garden Cinema view:

It’s a Josh O’Connor spring, and here he plays a (somehow) even more rumpled and crumpled character than his washed up tennis pro in Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers. He is Arthur, a perpetually exhausted and sullen English archaeologist-cum-tomb raider, decked out in creased, and increasingly grubby, white linens. This feels like an instantly iconic role for O’Connor, and one which director Alice Rohrwacher places within a beautiful evocation of 1980s Italy. As in the wonderful Happy as Lazzaro, Rohrwacher captures Tuscany and Lazio on nostalgic 16mm Kodak film. Her scenes are full of humour and music, and the film as a whole beckons in dreams, ghosts, and creatures of myth. Filled with melancholia, but never sombre, La Chimera is grumpily romantic, very slightly fantastical, and always a delight.      

Book Tickets

Monday 24 Jun 20243:30pm
Thursday 27 Jun 20245:15pm