Some keen observers have noticed: Yorgos Lanthimos never leaves the festival empty-handed. This happened with FangAward “Special Consideration” in Cannes in 2009, with Most lovelygrand jury prize in Venice in 2018 and Lobster, Cannes Jury Prize 2015. But this time for Lanthimos it is an absolute dedication. At the end of the 80th Venice Film Festival, the Greek director, at the age of fifty, received the Golden Lion for his eighth film. Poor creatures!which will be released in January 2024.
The jury, chaired by Damien Chazelle, was probably seduced by the fervent imagination of this film, adapted from a book by Scotsman Alasdair Gray, published in 1992. Just as extravagant as Lanthimos Poor creatures! examines several myths (Pygmalion, Frankenstein and others) through a brilliant feminist lens. The main character, Bella, played by Emma Stone, was still in the womb when she committed suicide, so a slightly crazy doctor (Willem Dafoe) inserted the baby’s brain into the mother’s reanimated body.
Starting from this idea, Lanthimos imagines the path of a being who grows up in a certain world, without moral barriers, and wonders what a woman would do if she could live the life she wants. Bella ignores prejudice, faces thousands of adventures and loves sex. Emma Stone, who won the Volpi Cup (and Oscar) for La la land (2016), Chazelle’s own, offers an incredible transgressive performance in a film in tune with our era, whose very flamboyant aesthetic may perhaps be criticized.
Anyway Poor creatures! he couldn’t have hoped for a better launch in light of the next Oscars. But other awarded works also deserve attention. In a political gesture, the jury recognized the value of two films about the tragedy of migrants. Matteo Garrone received the Silver Lion for directing I’m the captainwhich follows the fate of two young Senegalese who decide to defy their destiny and come to Europe (lead actor Seydoux Sarr won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Emerging Actor).
Instead, Poland’s Agnieszka Holland won the Special Jury Prize for her intense black-and-white film. Green border, a quasi-documentary film that follows the tragedy of a Syrian family trapped on the border between Poland and Belarus. Through the images of a border guard and an activist, the director paints an accurate and unapologetic picture of political cynicism and its destructive impact on the border police, trying to convey possible feelings of rebellion and humanity. Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Zibro responded by comparing the Green Border to Nazi propaganda, as in the days when “the Germans showed Poles as bandits and murderers.” Thus, the special jury prize represents a kind of declaration in support of the director who wants to sue the minister.
One of the best films of this edition. Evil doesn’t exist Ryusuke Hamaguchi received the Grand Jury Prize. After Drive my car – Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival – a Japanese director points his camera at the trees of a small village. There, residents live in unity with nature until they discover the existence of a real estate project designed to accommodate tourists, which upsets the delicate balance of the community. Thus begins a discussion with the project’s financiers, but in the silence of the blue morning, Hamaguchi’s film takes a different path, the path of a Western. The film is breathless and we have never seen opening and closing credits so integrated into the story. Moreover, as we will see later, Evil Does Not Exist also raises some troubling questions about writing.
What can’t be said about Pablo Larraín’s latest work: El Conde, a screenplay award, is the only recognition for Netflix, which features five films in this edition. This horror satire resurrects former dictator Augusto Pinochet as a vampire, but struggles to make it to the end.
What about the winners of this episode? The jury certainly had a knack for selecting the rare films that rose to the occasion, even if two of the boldest were forgotten, namely Michael Mann’s Ferrari and Bertrand Bonello’s Betta, a futuristic effort starring the charming pair of ageless actors Léa Seydoux. and George Mackay.
Thus, this is not an exceptional publication in which the artistic element is more than once absent. Moreover, the presence of three directors accused of sexual assault – Luc Besson, Roman Polanski and Woody Allen – sent a message that was difficult to interpret. Often, especially with films in competition, we roll our eyes at works aimed at a specific audience. For example, “Priscilla” by Sofia Coppola, a film based on the autobiographical book of Priscilla Presley, which allowed actress Cailee Spaeny to become a best actress. In fact, the girl lives in a golden prison, and Elvis goes crazy on tour and lies shamelessly. After the first half hour, the film begins to repeat itself, causing outrage. Come on Elvis, you don’t do that, bad Elvis.
How about Michel Franco’s indigestible Memento, which delves into the delicate area of pathology accompanied by childhood trauma? A man suffering from early onset dementia, played well by Peter Sarsgaard (Best Actor Award), meets a social worker, a former alcoholic played by Jessica Chastain, with a wrinkle-free face. Essentially, the film is an ode to eternal youth. In short, it’s better to laugh at it.
And in any case, in Venice, at least twice, we laughed heartily at films out of competition. First with Hitman Richard Linklater’s madcap tale of an unlikely false killer (Glen Powell, superb) has its strengths in a lively and ingenious script that combines romantic elements and detective intrigue. And then there is Yessss! New film by Quentin Dupieux after the previous one Yannick achieved significant success with the public. IN Yessss! There are as many “A”s as there are actors who personify the Catalan artist (1904–1989). And this fantasy can be interpreted as a satire of a smug artist who considers himself above everything. This man drives a journalist (Anais Demoustier) crazy when she tries to interview him. And he shamelessly caresses the generous breasts of the make-up artist, who is trying to reduce the incident to a minimum: “He is an artist…”. Just what we need to swallow the bitter pill. ◆ address
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