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Love and conflict among three men and women

Posted April. 23, 2024 07:46,   

Updated April. 23, 2024 07:46


When discussing the current Hollywood landscape, it's impossible to overlook Zendaya (28), one of its most prominent actresses. Rising to fame through Disney+'s audition program at 13, Zendaya has ascended to leading roles in blockbuster films such as MJ in 'Spider-Man' and Chani in 'Dune.' With her poised and self-assured demeanor, she has captured the hearts of the American MZ generation as a coveted star.

Zendaya ventures into new territory with her latest film, 'Challengers,' set to premiere on the 24th. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, renowned for his acclaimed work 'Call Me by Your Name' (2017), the movie introduces Zendaya as Tashi, a brilliant tennis player forced into retirement by injury, who subsequently becomes her husband's coach.

Once hailed as a tennis prodigy from her youth, Tashi sees her seemingly predetermined path crumble in an instant due to a devastating knee injury. By her side is Art (Mike Feist), who has harbored feelings for her since childhood. As Art ascends to become a world-renowned tennis star, Tashi assumes the roles of his coach and spouse, establishing her own family. However, their tranquil existence is soon disrupted when Patrick (Josh O'Connor), Art's childhood confidant and former rival for Tashi's affections, resurfaces, igniting a battle of egos.

In 'Challengers,' the narrative unfolds like a tennis ball ricocheting in unpredictable directions. While Guadagnino's previous work, 'Call Me by Your Name,' depicted a poignant first love that upends mundane existence, 'Challengers' delves into the intricate depths of human emotion, intertwining themes of love and hate, aspiration and reality. Guadagnino's direction masterfully visualizes the tense dynamic among the trio through rhythmic music and high-stakes tennis sequences. Particularly noteworthy is the scene where the tennis ball morphs into a camera, oscillating between the two men at erratic angles, effectively conveying the director's intended emotions without the need for dialogue.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com