Childhood memories, between tenderness and brutal honesty

Childhood memories, between tenderness and brutal honesty

In the film “The Time of Armageddon,” now available on HBO Max, director James Gray revisits his life and that of his family in 1980s New York.

September 3, 2023 · 03:15hs

The young actor Banks Repeta and Anthony Hopkins in “The Time of Armageddon.”

It is striking that a movie like “The Time of Armageddon” has not reached theaters in Argentina and has gone directly to streaming. Firstly because of its cast _which includes figures like Anthony Hopkins, Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong_ and secondly because of its director, the New Yorker James Gray, recognized for films like “Z: The Lost City” and “Ad Astra.” Just like other filmmakers like Steven Spielberg did with “The Fabelmans” or Paul Thomas Anderson with “Licorice Pizza”, Gray presents here an autobiographical film, which travels to his childhood in New York when he was 11 years old.

His alter ego in fiction is Paul Graff (Banks Repeta), a boy who lives with his middle-class family in Queens. At school Paul is a rebel who does not have a good relationship with his classmates or teachers, but he befriends a black boy who comes from a poor neighborhood. He is also very close to his grandfather, the only one who approves of his goal of being an artist.

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“The Time of Armageddon” is a coming-of-age with the typical elements of the genre (bullying, friendships, initiation rituals), but Gray goes a little further and manages to reflect with complete honesty from moments of tenderness and childish naivete to passages of anger and violence.

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The contradictions of the middle class, its rigidity when facing different problems and its obsession with economic security are also in the director’s sights, which also shows in a tangential way how the era of Ronald Reagan was emerging, while the Trump family he was already preaching his conservative values ​​from a private school. With a tone that sometimes refers to the cinema of Woody Allen, Noah Baumbach and Wes Anderson, James Gray manages to rescue the memories of his own past to try to understand the present.

The time of Armageddon | Official trailer | HBO Max

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