Cannes: Drama of self-employment
Ken Loach and Pedro Almodóvar showed in Cannes exactly what we expect from them. The British portrayed people in the modes of a ruthless social system, the Spaniard told about unhappy loves and creativity, which is becoming a panacea for the evil of the world.
"Pain and radiance" is a very personal confession of a Spanish master. The hero of the film is a director who has not been working for some time, a hysteric suffering from "everything", a depressed man. Images of the past return to him after a dose of the drug. The viewer knows them well: rural women singing while washing bed linen in the river, boys at the clergy seminary, mother in poverty, fighting like a lion to create a piece of real home for her son.
The old loves of movid madrilen, the pain of parting with a beloved man are also returning. Almodóvar himself says that "Pain and Glow" closes the trilogy, which also consists of "Law of Desire" and "Bad Education". But at the same time, he assures: - All my films are personal, but even "Pain and Glow", where the hero is director, don't read it literally. When I sit down to write the script, fiction always comes with memories.
- We've known Pedro for 40 years. And I assure you: in addition to what happened to him, there are things in the film that he was not able to experience, and he dreamed of them, as well as those completely invented - added Antonio Banderas, who in the "Pain and Light" played the main character.
A painful film was made about feelings and passions: about mother and son love, not always simple. About abandoned religion. About desire and longing for love that once happened and tenderly remained in memory forever. But above all about the artist's fate, the pain of creation, the price you pay for hypersensitivity. That only art can bring catharsis in life.
In turn, Ken Loach, although he announced that he was withdrawing from the cinema, again came back to those who "the wind blows in the eyes". He could not stand the life of a pensioner. Too much is about anxiety, harm and social inequality to make him stop.
- This is a new phenomenon: more and more people are working today in the self-employment system. Theoretically right - they have their own businesses. But they are usually terribly exploited and have no sense of security. Even a small break at work can lead to tragedy - debt, bankruptcy - says the director.
His "Sorry, We Missed You" is a story about an ordinary British family from Newcastle. Mother, social worker visits several elderly people who need help every day. After unemployment, the father sets up a one-man company and accepts the draconian conditions imposed by the parcel delivery company.
There are also children: a recalcitrant boy during the rebellion and a younger girl - a sensitive, deeply experiencing crisis in the family. Because the eternal absence of busy parents raises more and more problems. In addition, tragedy hangs over the Turner everyday life. There comes a moment when their existence shakes. Loach shows the ruthlessness of employers. Abby works 12 hours, but has only paid seven, at the lowest rates. For the boss Ricky, only the company's competitiveness and profit count. The employee pays high penalties for every moment of absence or delay. Accident? Sudden problem with the child? Disease? It can plunge the family into serious debts.
Loach and his screenwriter Paul Laverty are still making the same movie about the wickedness of the Western world, which pushes aside maybe not so resourceful, but hard-working, honest people. "Sorry, We Missed You" is the cry of an artist who never forgot that he left the poor neighborhood of Nuneaton.
Almodóvar and Loach showed beautiful but predictable films. Meanwhile, the debutant - the 41-year-old Frenchman Ladj Ly, the son of immigrants from Mali, who spent his whole life in a block of flats near Montfermeil, surprised with his strong message. Self-taught, he made several documentaries about his world. In 2017, he was nominated for Caesar for the documentary "Les Misérables". After two years he showed his first feature under the same title.
- I wanted to talk about the universe of misery districts, the brutality of the police, the lack of education and children growing up in such an environment - he says.
"The Wretches" is the story of three policemen who, during the intervention in Montfermeil, hurt a little boy. Their main concern is to cover up the matter. And the boy? Will come out of it, but prepare, together with his friends, a terrible revenge. Rape breeds rape.
Among the misery and lack of perspectives, positive values no longer matter. People are driven by anger and hatred. A few-year-old children are infected with all this. Ly shows how easily they pick up a stone or a burning firecracker. There are no other patterns here: almost everyone - policemen, local gangsters, children - are equally dirty.
In times of discussion about immigrants and refugees, the film cannot be overestimated. Because it shows how aggression arises and lawlessness reigns in "cursed" blocks of flats. We have before our eyes television images of cars burning in the streets of Paris and police fights with immigrants. These nameless images Ly gives the faces and fate of specific people.
This year's Cannes shows that the old masters do not disappoint, but I was really deeply moved by the film of the French debutante from the miserable suburb of the big city, written in anger and helplessness.
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