What to see in theaters
By Peter Sohn
Losing creative and graphic speed, the studio is picking up the slack with this film with a wonderful pitch and direction. Not a masterpiece, no, but a great idea.
Let’s admit that the announcement of Pixar’s return to the Croisette left us skeptical. Their last productions betrayed the loss of their famous mojo and Peter Sohn’s previous film, Arlo’s Journeywas not really a flagship of the catalog. Elementary nevertheless marks a return to the fundamentals of the studio. In a world-city populated by four very distinct communities (the aquatic people, the air people, the earth people and the fire people), the film tells the upset relationship between a young girl-fire, the impulsive and the voluntary Flam, and a very emotional and weak-willed aquatic, Flack. Exceptional design, inventive and nicely referenced staging, Elementary above all deploys a formidable Pixarian idea: how to represent the physicality of feelings? You wondered what produces concretely friendship, fear and love? It’s a bit like the meeting of water and fire. Impossible ? No : Elementary.
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By Manuel Abramovich
A worker in a factory, Lalo is also a “sex-influencer” in his spare time and performs naked on social networks. After a casting, he officially becomes a gay porn actor but this new activity does not help him heal from a deep melancholy and a deep social malaise. This inspired Mexican film, which casts a real porn comedian (Lalo Santos) in the lead role, skillfully depicts a time when widespread overconsumption creates a destabilizing existential vacuum. Showing in particular the shooting of a porno centered on the revolutionary Zapata, pornomelancolia recalls that all political causes end up taken over by the industry. And it is by means of an elegant visual style and a communicative musical energy that Manuel Abramovich succeeds in expressing this contemporary spleen.
By Aina Vera
One, Hayat, sails off the polar circles. The other, Leila, has just given birth to a child in the South of France. The two women are sisters. They call each other, text, make video calls, tell each other about their lives, their emotions. Sometimes come together. Discover ice and dirty diapers, compromises and impediments. They are linked by the same cursed fate (“I am the daughter of a cameo and the father of a stranger says Hayat). The documentary, presented at the ACID in Cannes in 2022, draws two portraits of women struggling towards beauty and consolation. It’s soft, luminous, sisterly and beautifully filmed (between fixed overall shots, focus on the hands at work, faces on edge). Contemplative without being illustrative, modest without being silent. We end up being picked up by emotion. Could it be tenderness?
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FIRST TO MODERATELY LOVED
IL BOEMO ★★☆☆☆
By Petr Vaclav
Rise and fall. Such could be the subtitle of this biopic by Czech composer Josef Myslivecek, who was Mozart’s mentor in his early youth and a true star of 18th century classical music before ending up in the most total poverty and the oblivion of the world. ‘history. It is precisely because his romantic story – for example, his affair with a woman from the Court of Venice who will allow this genius to realize his dream by composing his first opera – is little known, outside the circle specialists, that this film hangs, in spite of these 2h20. Too bad the realization lacks audacity and never manages to marry the extraordinary and flamboyant side of this character unable, him, to stay in the nails.
By Robin Pront
After the narcotic The Ardennes and the very wobbly The Silencing, the Belgian director Robin Pront returns to his land with the adaptation of a very well-known true story across Quiévrain: that of Frank Verstraeten, computer genius and VAT fraudster who, at the end of the 90s, teams up with a local porn king to open Antwerp’s mega nightclub, the Zillion. Money laundering, sex, drugs, weapons and techno… All of this will obviously end up in court. The film recounts the rise and fall of Verstraeten with a lot of complacency in a very putassic visual style, just to stick to the times. Not always a success, especially when Robin Pront wants to give himself the air of Guy Ritchie era Scams, Crimes and Botany. A little more modesty wouldn’t have hurt.
By Soudade Kaadan
To leave and become a refugee or to remain in the heart of the chaos? The issue divides the family of 14-year-old Zeina, the last to live in a besieged Damascus neighborhood inside an apartment destroyed by a missile. From this subject strongly coupled with a reflection on the weight of patriarchy, Soudade Kaadan dares the tragicomic fable tinged with surrealism which seduces before getting lost in the lengths of his story and his choice to hammer messages that would have won to be suggested.
PREMIERE DIDN’T LIKE
ASTEROID CITY ★☆☆☆☆
By Wes Anderson
Asteroid City opens as a playwright writes his new play. Under the eyes of the spectator, actors and a narrator give life to this story which is then embodied on the screen. The part in question, Asteroid City, takes place in a hamlet located in the middle of the American desert. For a few days, soldiers and scientists will welcome a string of kids and their parents there for a scientific competition. But the event is brutally disrupted by an event of planetary scale… Wes Anderson is once again doing Wes Anderson here. Thousand power. The filmmaker multiplies his visually sublime vignettes, of perfect mastery, and his artistic direction is phenomenal. But despite the parade of stars, his miniaturistic delirium finally prevents life from springing from his frames and his cinema is more than ever locked in obsessions which run on empty and no longer produce any emotion. Worse, by revisiting the history of American cinema and theater of the 1950s, Anderson locks himself in references as obscure as they are indecipherable and leaves the spectator definitively on the side of the road.
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38°5 QUAI DES ORFEVRES ★☆☆☆☆
By Benjamin Lehrer
Incestuous child of Julie Lescaut and Is there a pilot on the plane ?, 38°5 Quai des Orfèvres tries in vain to transpose ZAZ humor to this side of the Atlantic. Quest obviously almost impossible (only Les Nuls have really done it with The City of Fear). On the trail of a serial killer nicknamed the Lone Worm(s) (because he sows alexandrines at crime scenes), investigator Clarisse Sterling (got it?) must team up with the cops completely to the masses, led by Commissioner Keller (Didier Bourdon, the only actor who knows roughly what he is doing). Nothing coherent in this infernal comedy with distressing dialogues and gags, which does not even make the effort to try to copy the photo of the films that it parodies. A monument of malaise under cover of fifth degree.
By Virginie Sauveur
By adapting women in black by Anne-Isabelle Lacassagne, this feature debut tackles the question of the place of women in the Catholic Church through the discovery, on the death of a priest, that he was… a woman who had succeeded in hiding the truth to his superiors. But the investigation by the chancellor of the diocese (Karin Viard) into her journey which forms the backbone of the story – coupled with an dispensable sub-plot about her son seeking to know the truth about his father – is too scholarly to convince.
SISU- GOLD AND BLOOD ★☆☆☆☆
By Jalmari Helander
We have come down hard from the fever that took hold of us a few weeks ago when we discovered the limpid and muscular trailer of this film which came out of nowhere, and which promised the meeting of Tarantino (little atmosphere of neo-bis annealed at the grindhouse) and Iñarritu (the Revenant) in the Finnish steppes at the end of the Nazi occupation. Result: a superficially sympathetic nanar, but who ends up annoying for the little he has to offer his spectators: a lot of bravado about his overrated cartoon spirit (and approached with a painful second degree), quite little stylistic vocabulary (a glaring abuse of slow motion which produces the opposite of what it would like since it dilutes the intensity instead of maximizing it). We would have preferred to believe it.
THE WITCH AND THE MARTIAN ★☆☆☆☆
By Thomas Bardinet
We met him with The Cry of Tarzan And The cuddly souls. Thomas Bardinet returns today after 12 years of silence. Break during which he animated the Cinematographic Bricolage Workshop of Floirac and directed The Witch and the Martian with teenagers from the city, without a technical team or real actors. A laudable intention that is important to underline, but whose flawed execution does not help the film to be anything other than amateur. This Peter Pan-like fable opens with two disappearances, those of children who mysteriously evaporate in the forest. Uprooting, the feeling of loneliness, the transition to adolescence are scattered throughout this fantastic tale that is sometimes pretty, often hollow, and whose naive story ultimately lacks rhythm.
The challenge, by Gene Stupnitsky
The Girl and the Boy, by Jean-Marie Besset
Chocolate, by Claire Denis
Daniel, by Sidney Lumet