Twitter users reflect on the best movies where the landscape plays a vital role


So I saw this Twitter prompt the other day…

And that immediately made me think of two films I had seen recently. The first was that of Paolo Sorrentino God’s hand. A beautiful and bittersweet coming-of-age film based on Sorrentino’s childhood in Naples and grounded in Diego Maradona’s deification of the city, God’s hand opens with an absolutely stunning sequence where the camera sweeps across the dark blue waters of the Gulf of Naples. Rushing forward and slowly adjusting its gaze upwards, the view gradually reveals to us the city itself, partially painted in gold as it succumbs to twilight. The camera pans west, following the coastal road that separates Naples from the sea, admiring the stacked apartment buildings cascading down the hills away from the water as well as the marina dotted with a hundred boats and finally rotating to reveal the promontory of the coast of Posillipo where Naples slips into the water. It’s a striking and indelible opening, and it cements a fundamental truth: Naples is as much a character here as anyone else.

The other movie the Twitter prompt made me think of was 2019 It’s not a funeral, it’s a resurrection, Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese’s incredible depiction of one woman’s refusal to allow the forces of false progress to sever the bond between the land and its people. The late South African actress Mary Twala Mhlongo superbly plays Mantoa, an octogenarian who pushes her small community to resist the resettlement forced upon them in the name of dam-building and land redevelopment, and it is this huge verdant land who also plays a central role in the film. Screenwriter Guy Lodge describe It’s not a funeral, it’s a resurrection as “a haunted, unsentimental anthem to the land and its physical confinement of community and ancestry,” and that sentiment bleeds from every frame.

Here are some of the thoughts Twitter had in response to the prompt:

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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

Header image source: Primary benefit


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