How often do military families move
In his first work for TV, the Italian director Luca Guadagnino uses the setting, a US military base near Venice, like a microscope to talk about the fractures and power structures that run through the military families and the individual characters.
By Natalie Brunner
Military bases look the same all over the world, we learn from the young people whose parents work there in the military. They are young people who grow up in an artificial little America, isolated from their Italian environment. There is also a rupture in her crew caused by power structures, because it is partly the children of high-ranking military personnel and partly very young recruits who break into the pool together at night.
14-year-old Fraser, who grew up in New York City, is thrown into this scenario. His mother Sarah, played by Chloe Sevigny, is the new Colonel of the Airbase in Veneto. Her Brazilian wife Maggie, played by Alice Braga, a low-ranking major, and their son Fraser are moving to the generic US mini-pastry town. Fraser totally denies both the Army Drill and his mothers, who themselves have to do with transcending the professional hierarchy in private.
Yannis Drakoulidis / HBO
Realistic characters that polarize
How well and realistically Guadagnino designed his characters can be seen from the very emotional and contrary reactions to the character Fraser. The portrayal of actor Jack Dylan Grazer is praised in all reviews. Some reviews describe Fraser as a warped bellows, an unsavory pubescent construction site and repulsive for the viewer.
For me, 14-year-old Fraser is a hero. It takes a lot of courage and backbone as a gender fluid person who has developed the highest level of cultural sophistication at a young age, dressed in a mixture of 90s acid house fashion Russian and Japanese avant-garde designers, to walk into a US Army base and the To make it clear to the whole environment that you don't want to have anything to do with the archaic shit. I was deeply moved and delighted that Fraser found a soul mate in this impossible place in Caitlin / Harper and showed her / him options a way. My tears flowed at the Season Finale, which is playing at a Blood Orange concert. Devonte Hynes aka Blood Orange also composed the score for the series.
"We Are Who We Are" developed a strong pull
These emotional reactions from supposedly “professional” reviewers are reflections of ideologies that set Guadagnino’s characters back and a quality feature of his series. "We Are Who We Are" develops a strong pull because director Guadagnino does not focus on external events, but on the inner workings of the characters and we viewers develop such a great empathy for the political conflicts and the isolation of the various characters. We perceive the events from the often contradicting emotional and political perspectives of the characters at the same time.
Yannis Drakoulidis / HBO
Caitlin / Harper's father for example: Richard Poythress played by Kid Cudi. He is an Afro-American US lieutenant, Trump supporter, his wife, who is discriminated against at the base, is Nigerian, who brought a son who is now turning to Islam into the marriage and the biological preferred daughter now refuses to adopt a heteronormative female identity. His new boss, Colonel Sarah, white, lesbian, from the American elite with good political connections, sends the teenagers he has not fully trained, friends of his children, to their deaths because of bureaucratic desk decisions. A military life whose conflicts seem plausible and realistic to me.
It is a narration of the inside on a spatially limited tableau, something that Luca Guadagnino masters masterfully. This brought his 2017 film "Call Me By Your Name" not only a number of awards but also an Oscar nomination. “We Are Who We Are” is an important, realistic and wonderfully painful piece of series history about contemporary identity politics.
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