Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2022 8:53 pm 
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Enlarged and revised Jury Grid. As of today, Thurs., May 26, TORI AND LOKITA has moved up to 2.7 and NOSTALGIA has moved to the middle of the pack (2.5), while LEILA'S BROTHERS got a "middling" score of 2.3. DECISION TO LEAVE and ARMAGEDDON TIME remain in first and second place on the Grid. Coming titles: PACIFICTION (Albert Serra), BROKER (Hirakazu Kore-eda - in Korean this time!), CLOSE (Lukas Dhont), SHOWING UP (Kelly Reichardt), and MOTHER AND SON (Eleanor Serraille. (May 26 related Screen Daily article )

3.2 DECISION TO LEAVE - Park Chan-wook
2.8 ARMAGEDDON TIME - James Gray
2.7 EO - Jerzy Skolomowski
2.7 TORI AND LOKITA (Jeanne-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
2.6 CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (David Cronenberg)
2.5 NOSTALGIA (Mario Martone)
2.5 TRIANGLE OF SADNESS - Ruben Östlund
2.5 R.M.N. - Christian Mungiu
2.3 LEILA'S BROTHERS (Saeed Roustayi)
2.3 BOY FROM HEAVEN - Tarik Saleh
2.2 TCHAIKOVSKY'S WIFE - Kirill Serebrennikov
2.1 THE EIGHT MOUNTAINS - Felix Van Groeningen
2.1 HOLY SPIDER - Ali Abassi
2.0 BROTHER AND SISTER (Arnaud Desplechin)
2.0 THE EIGHT MOUNTAINS (Vandermeersh, Groeningen)
1.8 FOREVER YOUNG - Valeria Bruni Tedeschi



BROKER (Hirakazu Kore-eda)
Cannes. In Competition. Gets a miserable 2/5 stars from Bradshaw ofThe Guardian, who calls this child adoption tale "sudsy" and says he "gets the tone all wrong." Bradshaw acknowledges Kore-eda's a kind of heir to Ozu (though he himself prefers a nod to Naruse), and that he's "rightly revered." But the Japanese master has "a sweet tooth for whimsy and sentimentality" also shown in LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, which comes out here, says Bradshaw, who thinks this film "silly," "shallow," and "not a single word of it" "really believable.". But Tim Grierson in Screen Daily finds it "sensitive and compassionate," and that seems to be a widespread critics' view, admiring, respectful, not hugely enthusiastic of the film as a film in Kore-eda's oeuvre. Kore-eda won the Palme d'Or in 2018 for SHOPLIFTERS. This is about a black market business of selling abandoned babies. It's illegal, but this time the wrongdoers are closer to being do-gooders and claim to be so. Ben Croll in The Wrap calls the film "fine but not too memorable." In Hollywood Reporter David Rooney is admiring, but admits some later story twists are "incongruously movie-ish."



Cannes. In Competition. After previous experiences with Serra (who has never had a film in Competition at Cannes before, by the way), I would have the strongest doubts, but Bradshaw of The Guardian (who gives it 4/5 stars) fell under the spell of this sure, slow-moving portrait of colonial evil - or as he calls it "cheese-dream of French imperial tristesse, political paranoia and an apocalyptic despair," starring Benoît Magimel. The glamorously decadent-looking Magimel seems like a good start. Bradshaw says he "seems to be morphing into Gérard Depardieu before our eyes"; does he know Magimel played Depardieu's son in the 2016-2018 French TV series "Marseille"? The setting is Tahiti, part of French Polynesia. Magimel is the High Commissioner. A club-owning pal is the "reliably unsettling" Sergi López of WITH A FRIEND LIKE HARRY. There is hocus-pocus about nuclear testing and about the High Commissioner's departure. Serra leaves the period costumes of Casanova and Louis XIV behind here for the present day. In his Screen Daily review Lee Marshall briefly contrasts this Tahiti with the drabber one of Claire Denis's "challengingly opaque" 2004 The Intruder. Will this have some of that magic? With its "almost three-hour running time, dreamlike pacing and wafer-thin plot," this film isn't going to "light up the cineplexes." But would we like it? Maybe. In Deadline Pete Hammond says it "works on many levels," and seems somewhat naively appreciative.



CLOSE (Lukas Dhont)
Cannes. In Commpetition. Young Belgian director Dhont won the 2018 Cannes Camera d’Or for best debut (as Léonor Serraille did the year before) and the Queer Palm for GIRL, about a trans woman who wants to dance ballet with the other girls, which I saw then and described in my Paris movie journal as "a frustratingly restricted but brilliant and memorable film." I barely remember it now, though. (His choice of a cis-male actor to play the trans lead was criticized in trans and LGBTQ circles.) The new film concerns two 13-year-old very very close best friend boys - Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémi (Gustav de Waele) - whose bond of idyllic, apparently asexual, intimacy and affection is gradually broken when they go to secondary school because its intense physicality is found by others to be inappropriate. Whether one or the other or both or neither is gay is never shown (Dhont himself is openly gay). Léo, the more demonstrably "in love" (and the main protagonist) is the strongest to turn against the relationship. The Variety review says CLOSE is "so subtle and sensitive in the first half, so devastatingly false from its tragic twist on" (I won't list that "twist" as they do) and concludes Dhont, who is still only 31, "has a masterpiece in him," but "there’s an immaturity to his movies that he must first overcome." Gregory Ellwood of The Playlist ("A-") doesn't mention the twist at all and admires the "euphoric joy" of the scenes showing the boys' friendship before, in school, pressure causes Léo to break away from Rémi. David Erlich in IndieWire like Variety's critic thinks Dhont, though very gifted, still has some growing up to do, and takes the easy way out and misses out in subtlety in his second film's second half (he gives it a B-). Wendy Ide in Screen Daily, plainly taken by the film, focuses on "knockout performances," particularly by Dambrine, direction "of uncommon sensitivity" and the film's "intimate" scope but "considerable emotional wallop." Veteran critic Leslie Felperin, writing in Hollywood Reporter, is also extremely admiring.
Competition films still to be covered:
SHOWING UP (Kelly Reichardt)
MOTHER AND SON (Léonor Serraille)

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