“Human Factors” is a drama about the sick soul of the bourgeoisie, a type of film with which patrons of English-language arthouses are familiar. The main characters tend to be solidly upper middle class or wealthy (it can be hard to tell the difference; wealthy people who inherited their wealth rarely admit they are wealthy). There are usually fabulous turtlenecks and cable sweaters, often tailored, everywhere you look, and beautiful people who shouldn’t smoke cigarettes with each other near the side entrances of fancy restaurants, or in the backs of houses. guesthouses or boathouses. Sometimes these characters are single or divorced, but more often than not they are part of a traditional “nuclear” family (although the father may be in his second marriage, to an alumnus, assistant, or nanny).
From early classics like “The Exterminating Angel” and “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” by Luis Bunuel to high-flying poetic exercises like the “Three Colors” trilogy, the thrillers “Cache” and “Funny Games” by Michael Haneke , and the domestic dramas “Human Resources” and “The Humans,” it’s an elastic format, united primarily by its focus on a narrow slice of economic reality. It probably goes without saying that the type of character/family/demographic presented in such films is vastly overrepresented in the history of cinema, compared to the population of the planet, and to all configurations of human relationships that have not not yet had the slightest film made. about them.
That said, “Human Factors” is a strong example of the form, even if it may overstate some viewers’ desire to see the relatively minor afflictions of well-to-do people examined in detail, from multiple angles. The film’s biting punchline lands, however, and it’s hard not to appreciate its candor: something like, “The next generation will rebel, probably for personal rather than ideological reasons, and eventually replace their parents, and the cycle will continue, and nothing will really change.”
As a society, we still haven’t received the personal jetpacks promised by mid-20th century sci-fi, but maybe they will eventually arrive, and the well-to-do families in those movies will wear them, vying for the place. importance of breaches of protocol by flying over Paris or Lisbon in fabulous sweaters.
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