Cannes screams: The world is rotting and we can do it 24.hu
Senegalese refugees go to sea, distressed Brazilian villagers retreat, English family father tries to avoid misery, and in France everything is wrong. The 72nd Cannes Film Festival started with brutally realistic films. On-site reporting.
Like many of my Hungarian colleagues, thanks to Wizzair's schedule, I missed the opening film of the festival (Jim Jarmusch's The Dead Don't Die Zombie - Who Seen It Didn't Sang It), I was able to watch the competition films presented on Wednesday and Thursday, and that Jarmusch missed out, these four films are such a perfect unit. Surely it wasn't accidentally blown up by them, Director Thierry Frémaux, this pack carries a very strong political message, and it can be very depressing.
To put it bluntly, all four works show how much we have screwed up our world, and some that even add that there is no chance of anything turning right. Although two of the four break away from the completely realistic portrayal, they all communicate the here and now, the hot topics that cause us to sleep badly or sleep poorly every day.
I write about them in ascending order, starting with what I believe is the fourth best film in the French-Senegalese film Atlantique. If you are going to Cannes (like László Nemes Jeles with Saul's Son) for your first full-length movie, you should pay close attention to this, as beginner directors tend to be placed in the Certain Regard second section, , or a politically very sensitive subject to be addressed in order for someone to land immediately in the race. Atlantique director Mati Diop is also a woman, and is the first black woman to compete in Cannes.
The French Diop of Senegalese originated in an incident that first made a short film ten years ago: his Senegalese friends were trying to get to Spain illegally on a ship. The fictional version frames the refugee story with a love story, and at one point takes a supernatural twist. Immediately we start in the thick of it: eviscerated construction workers working on a modern high-rise building demand their employer three months late pay, of course, to no avail. Inhaling the hopelessness of the workers in a documentary style, it is clear that they have no means of enforcing or changing their rights. A few hours later, the main character, Ada (by the way, the perfectly styled, by the way, beautiful, amateur Mame Bineta Sane) learns that her lover, Souleiman, who also worked on the construction site, boarded several of her companions to try to cross Europe.
In addition, Ada had to marry the wealthy businessman Omar within days, which, although the exact details are not clear, was obviously not his own idea. At the wedding, a fire comes out, a young detective gets the case, and soon some of the auxiliary actors go through a strange transformation, including the detective. From this point on, the lyrical-mystical sections break the documentarist approach, and Diop does a great job of managing this change of style. The supernatural power that manifests itself at night allows the characters who have no chance at day to confront their exploiters to symbolically take control, but the creator does not fail to use it to offer an artificial solution to the viewer. We get beautiful pictures in vain, when the film is over, in our souls' eyes, we see dismal ships crowded with desperate people on their way to Europe, or worse.
The close-blooded Brazilian film Bacurau is closely related to Atlantique: how poor people who are helpless against the rich exploiter still try to break out of their role, and here too, find a solution. The film is co-starred by Kleber Mendonca Filho, who has been competing with the finest Aquarius here for three years, and Juliano Dornelles, who was a visual designer for Aquarius. They made us tricky, witty genre films that can be defined as western if you really need to, but they are also enjoyable because they play very well with a mix of different genres.
We are in the near future in a Brazilian village called Bacurau, where the mayor of the re-election, with his useless gifts and empty promises, occasionally comes up to shut the village out of the drinking water, so the locals aren't really into the duma. The various inhabitants of the settlement are not well known, it is a community story, not that of an individual, but one of them is the dominant doctor, Domingas, who is played by the charismatic Sonia Braga, the barely disguised character of Aquarius.
Without a shot at detail, it can be described that the village is in greater danger than ever, and the destruction comes under the command of Udo Kier, who has once again freneticly brought his usual character. Being basically western, of course, the good and the bad come together, with a humorous, plastic depiction of violence that Tarantino can even remember. Bacurau feeds on the harshest reality, but this one of the four comes closest to being called a "feel-good" movie. However, we will never forget that in reality these people would never be given the chance to go back, and it is especially painful how familiar the story is to Hungary today, unfortunately we are not far from this little Brazilian village. Just as opposed to the heroes of the movie, we wouldn't even need a gun to banish our political leaders.
Pretty much every journalist I talk to in Cannes every year is bored by Ken Loach. I'm like that, no matter how good the director is, they have been screening their films at the festival for forty years, and even though I've only been here for fifteen years, I've been pretty saturated with his work. Whether it was necessary three years ago to give him a second Golden Palm for me, Daniel Blake, is debatable, but the movie, as well as his racing film, Sorry We Missed You, is a harshly heart-rending one. .
I got into it terribly tired at 10 o'clock Thursday night and I thought I'd fall asleep instead, watching it all the time, even though for a very long time, it was almost all about the stuff and stuff we never wanted. The protagonist is Ricky Turner, an English family father (Kris Hitchen) who joins a delivery company as a van courier trying to improve his family's near-disaster financial situation while his wife is caring for the elderly and her teenage son is mainly busy breaking the law, just enough for everything in this family to fail.
Loach, just like in his previous film, portrays the impossibility of breaking out of the exploitation system and getting it one to two in a naturalistic, cluttered, realistic manner, with precise acting, cruel sensibility. Prosperity is only a distant dream here, the purpose of life has been reduced to escaping from poverty, but it comes like running sand. This story is too easy to translate into today's Hungarian reality, and the film, striking regardless of parallels, gets extra strength from the fact that we are no longer terrified that there are people who live like this, but again we are faced with exactly that, or even worse is the everyday reality of many.
My favorite so far is also the first film by Ladj Ly Les Misérables, which is not by chance the title, but by no means a new adaptation of The Miserable. We are in a ghetto in Paris, mainly from the perspective of a newcomer to the police (Damien Bonnard), who has been assigned to patrol alongside two of his fellow rubbish collectors. There is tension in the air, and there is a lot of conflict between the locals on ethnic or other grounds, and of course, almost everyone hates the police. At one point, there is an uncontrollable release of anger and something that should not be done.
Then the violence escalates further, and the new policeman somehow tries to resolve the multiplayer conflict for which he has little chance. The tension that has always been hard to maintain, sometimes barely bearable, is not primarily determined by the outcome of the story, but rather by the knowledge of the medium. The director almost sketches, jumping from place to place, the different groups, ideologies, interests that should somehow live together in this part of the city, and as we know more about the situation, we become more and more desperate.
Although this is a fiction movie, it is clear that this is exactly what is happening in the backward quarters of Paris and other European cities. Like Sorry We Missed You, Les Misérables presents the impossibility of social advancement with fleshly realism, not only at the individual, but at the group level. For those who may not have understood the causes of the recent demonstrations and clashes in France, this film will tell you exactly what the social tensions are. Ly's movie is probably the cruelest of the four, by the time we are led through this hell, we also understand that all of this is encoded in this system, so there's no hope for change.
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