Concorso Cineasti del presente
Coming four years after the acclaimed It Felt Like Love, Eliza Hittman’s second film confirms the talent and sensibility of a director able to move from the description of female sexuality in an initially predatory adolescent who ends up prey to her own inventions, to the portrait of a boy torn between the joy of being with his friends and desires that lead him to meet with older men. What remains as a constant is the backdrop, the most marginal and least hyped parts of Brooklyn, the vision of a city in the city, or rather the feeling of living the suburbs of the soul.
The title of Beach Rats is plural, and indeed Frankie is just one of the many boys hanging out by the beach, but the film would not be conceivable without its star, Harris Dickinson. Eliza Hittman always films him in close up, almost not leaving him time to formulate his hesitations in words. His performance is physical, and Dickinson is magnificent in his portrayal of an adolescent grappling with his impulses but also the desire to be part of a group. It’s the way he dwells between the two possibilities that avoids the clichés of the genre. Beach Rats is a film that fluctuates over different models and finds its identity precisely in not adhering completely to any of them: despite the presence of bodies and a typically American approach to light, one feels the European influence of directors, like Téchiné, for example, who have constructed their poetics on that fragile age where sexual identity takes shape.