CANNES 2017: WIND RIVER, JUST TO BE SURE, NAPALM

This entry was posted on May 22nd, 2017

Wind River

By Mónica Delgado

Last year, Taylor Sheridan went to Cannes as part of the team behind David Mackenzie’s Hell and High Water, in competition in the Un Certain Regard section. Now in the same section, Wind River, his first feature film, comes as a competitor. Both films are closely related with the western genre, its attraction with low profile anti-heroes, and the scenarios of a rural America. However, one senses a drastic distance in the treatment of this new Sheridan film, which loses its power when it’s driven by its “message”.

Sheridan places his film in the Milwaukeean winter, in a Native American community where a killing has just been discovered. Elizabeth Olsen arrives as a FBI agent (in an implausible role) and receives help from a local hunter, played by Jeremy Reiner, which is also an old friend of the deceased, a Native woman. Problems with the film appear in the beginning, in the construction of a relationship with both lead characters and in the development of the investigation, affected by ellipsis and flashbacks that don’t really work. However there’s a good shooting sequence that can’t save the film of being a moral tale about feminicide in Native American communities. Sheridan bet for the ONG profile.

Just to be Sure

Carine Tardieu’s Just to be Sure, presented in the Quinzaine de Realizateurs, is a comedy of conventional components but well delivered, fresh and with interesting performances. The story focuses in a mature character searching for his biologic father. What begins as a comedy of situations around this investigation becomes a romantic comedy with encounters and disagreements, well delivered by Tardieu.

The disappointment of the day came with Claude Lanzmann’s Napalm, a film out of competition that starts in a good way, from the director’s nostalgia of a visit made in the fifties to North Korea, and his memories of the bonds and fascination on the post war order, organization and mystic of this communist state while visiting again in 2015.

The devotion of Lanzmann to the policies of this country is surprising. In part, his position on this documentary is of someone convinced in this utopia, something that the filmmaker explores before giving in to a story regarding a love affair with a militant nurse of the regime, something that impoverishes his overall work.

Napalm loses its possibility of being a document of a regime written from this fascination, and becomes a testimony of an autumnal passion read from an intimate place, something that in some way signifies a failure, a failure almost redeemed by this portrait of a naked Lanzmann.

Napalm

WIND RIVER
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Reiner
Music: Warren Ellis
Editing: Gary Roach
110 min
UK, Canada

JUST TO BE SURE
Director: Carine Tardieu
Cast: François Damiens, Cécile De France
100 min
France, Belgium

NAPALM
Director: Claude Lanzmann
Producer: Francois Margolin
Cinematography: Caroline Champetier
Editor: Chantal Hymans
100 minutes