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The Humanity in the Films of Denis Villeneuve

Written by on February 9, 2017 


With Denis Villeneuve prolifically building an impressive catalogue of work — following IncendiesEnemy, Prisoners, and Sicario, his latest film Arrival is catching Oscar attention, as well as his upcoming Blade Runner: 2049 being one of the most-anticipated films of the year — people are diving deeply into the connective tissue across his films. A new video essay by Mr. Nerdista titled How Denis Villeneuve Explores Humanity dissects the auteur’s work from a vital perspective: the human one.

Studying the concept of ‘invasion’ — not just the metaphorical, but the literal, too — to understand humanity, the essay breaks the term down into three categories: invasion of land, invasion of innocence, and invasion of privacy/identity. These themes are stretched over the director’s filmography, from Enemy to Incendies to Arrival, all with varying capacities and perspectives.

An interesting point of study is his dissection of Sicario, which he posits as Villeneuve’s way to explore children as collateral damage to an invasion. The film’s insistence of showing violence in an unflinching manner as a means to portray those caught in the middle is an intriguing one, and is quite evident in the work itself — even going so far as to implicate the audience for its bloodlust.

See the essay below (hat tip to Medium) as well as more recent talks and our Arrival discussion, and for more with Villeneuve, watch his recent 2.5-hour talk with other DGA nominees.

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