Discovering “Glass Onion” by Rian Johnson, one is struck by the similarities between the world given to see by the film and that of two other objects among the most seen of the past year: the event series “The White Lotus” and “Without Filter”, Palme d’Or at the last Cannes Film Festival and box office success with more than half a million admissions.
Despite the diversity of their nature and their distribution channel (an HBO series, a streaming platform franchise and a popular auteur film), the three can be seen as a triptych whose theme would be Instagram’s conquest of reality , or at least by the Insta World, the world seen through the window-screen of the social network to the 1.2 billion users.
Anyone who has ever spent hours scrolling there aimlessly sees what this world is made of: display of luxury, cult of a standardized and ultra-sculpted body, bodybuilder muscles for him, model slimness for her, quest for fun and beauty. idleness, in a heavenly setting. A world whose experience, if indeed it is truly possible, concerns only 1% of the population, but a world which this year has burst the screens. In The White Lotus, Without filter and Glass Onionmotives are repeated in a disturbing way: yacht splitting an azure sea, seaside resort in an ultra-rich seclusion, infinity pool, Edenic and island nature, private beaches bathed in eternal sunshine.
The screenplay challenge of these three objects is also the same: it is about money, the power it confers and what it facilitates in such a world, sex. And it is through the intervention of a character from a lower class (detective Benoit Blanc from Glass Onionthe two prostitutes of The White Lotus, the housekeeper of Without filter) that the distribution of these three ingredients – money, power, sex – is modified between the beginning and the end of the film. But far from being the vector of a new form of class struggle, they maintain with the fantasy of power of the Insta World a duplicitous and cynical discourse.
We can say that the project of the three works is at first sight to demolish the Insta World, to tell its derailment, to break the lock of artificiality that makes it so desirable. The titles of films by Ruben Östlund and Rian Johnson are clear in this regard. In Without filter as in Glass Onion, it’s about seeing through a veiled reality whether by a filter or a glass onion, exploring the back of this advertising dream and scratching the chromo varnish. Deceit, betrayal, greed, manipulation and ultimately a grand game of slaughter is the horizon that stands out once the spell of the Insta World is broken; but the inability of the three objects to make their criticism lead to a proposal for an alternative reality makes them ultimately misanthropic works.
Glass Onion, The White Lotus and Without filter realize a fantasy of revenge of the dominated on the elites, of accession to the dream for those who believed themselves deprived of it, of pirate runoff, but without ever shaking the foundations of this world, its conservative values, its ostentatious capitalism and its social and physical normativity.
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“The White Lotus”, “Without filter” and “Glass Onion”: welcome to the Insta World – Les Inrocks