Title: Christine

Director: Antonio Campos

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, Timothy Simons, Kim Shaw, John Cullum, Morgan Spectator and Jayson Warner Smith

New York filmmaker Antonio Campos brings to the silver screen the story of Christine Chubbuck, the 1970s TV reporter who worked for WTOG and WXLT-TV in Sarasota, and committed suicide during a live television broadcast. The frightful event was announced by Chubbuck with composure as she pulled the trigger, right after saying: “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first — attempted suicide.”

Chubbuck’s extreme gesture, that denounced the media’s demand for sensationalism, provided part of the inspiration for Paddy Chayefsky’s script for the 1976 satirical film on the television industry, ‘Network’ directed by Sidney Lumet.

‘Christine’ shows the anchor woman struggling with depression and professional frustrations as she tries to advance her career. Rebecca Hall plays the titular character, with an outstanding physical metamorphosis. She portrays the tension of Chubbuck: the mental disorder is present, but it never gets out of proportion. The audience senses the young woman is troubled, without perceiving her as a complete wacko. Rebecca Hall’s overwhelming performance is supported by the talented cast around her, composed by Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, Timothy Simons, Kim Shaw, John Cullum, Morgan Spectator, Jayson Warner Smith.

Antonio Campos chooses a slow pace to build up to the dramatic climax, traversing some moments of ennui, that compose the day-to-day miserable life of the on-camera journalist. Chubbuck’s excruciating gesture was so flabbergastingly enlightening that it also inspired the documentary ‘Kate Plays Christine,’ where actress Kate Lyn Sheil prepares to interpret the life and tragic death of the self-deprecating reporter.

Undoubtably Chubbuck’s story resonates redundantly forty years later, now that the phenomenon of spectacularisation has invaded the internet with cyber bullying, identity theft, sex tapes and junk food news that bank on catchy titles. Her story alerts media outlets on the horrific consequences that can be caused by the warped mechanism of infotainment.

Technical: B

Acting: B+

Story: B+

Overall: B+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Turin Film Festival 2016 Movie Review: Christine

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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