Text by: Pier Paolo Scelsi
Translated by: Steve Piccolo
The 74th Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest event on the “seventh art,” opened with the screening of the film Downsizing, written and directed by Alexander Payne and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film tells the story of Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), an occupational therapist from Omaha, whose life unfolds between the immediate present of the average American male and a fantastic shrunken, miniature world. A world created by 3% of the world population composed of volunteers who agree to undergo a treatment that shrinks them down to a height of just five inches.
They live in equally tiny cities, designed and organized to seem like a comforting habitat for dolls. Everything is perfect in these settlements, free of any trace of poverty that might sully the pastel hues and pristine cleanliness of this undersized environment. The treatment, made possible by an incredible discovery of a Swedish scientist who sees miniaturization as the response to global overpopulation, soon reveals its “shortcomings” by straying from its original noble aims, leading to nothing more than the miniature reproduction of the ills, wrongs and injustices of the world on its original scale.
The viewer is drawn into a multi-faceted, complex context made of American couples trying to get a mortgage, fun-loving Serbs (Dusan, played by Christoph Waltz, brilliantly as usual), Vietnamese activists capable of unthinkable acts of courage to defend their village, all as the setting in which to ironically touch on and investigate various themes such as environmentalism, immigration and participation in democracy.