Film Festival Reports

Our coverage on the latest film fests.

CANNES 2019: ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD BY QUENTIN TARANTINO

By Mónica Delgado

Tarantino’s request of “no spoilers” for his film, made for the general audience, critics and journalists around the world, has little to do with revealing plots, or some turn of the screw that could’ve ruined the tension of the spectator. Quentin’s request has to do with another aspect of the film, which lies in its core itself. When Once upon a time… in Hollywood ends, one has the impression of having assisted to an exemplary act which shows the capacity of cinema of transforming reality, of proposing an exit and creating an evasion, maybe even accomplishing a dream. What Tarantino did in this film is closer to the highest degree of sublimation of cinema. The filmmaker of Reservoir dogs and Death proof has materialized that which cinema can achieve to mean for several people: a way of salvation.

CANNES 2019: PARASITE BY BOON JOON-HO

By Mónica Delgado

For the very first time in the history of Cannes, a South Korean film wins the Golden Palm. The merit of this is indisputable, since this is one of the best films in Bong Joon-ho career (maybe only comparable to the feat of Memories of Murder, in 2003), a bittersweet comedy that stablishes him as a filmmaker who still delivers creativity to any genre he chooses to do (drama, thriller, monster movie or science fiction).

CANNES 2019: ALMODÓVAR, IRA SACHS, BELLOCCHIO

By Mónica Delgado

It isn’t accidental that the three films I’m stopping in this article have as its greatest attraction the performance of experienced actors in important histrionic challenges, beyond the plot or stylistic proposals of the filmmakers they are serving. Ira Sachs’ Frankie, Pedro Almodóvar Pain and Glory or the vibrant Il Traditore by Marco Bellocchio, get a great part of its value through the remarkable performances of their lead characters, but fall flat in other elements.

CANNES 2019: MEKTOUB, MY LOVE: INTERMEZZO BY ABDELLATIF KECHICHE

By Mónica Delgado

En the middle of the 21st century, a cunnilingus scene can make a festival tremble. Shots of oral sex to a woman in twelve minutes can completely defenestrate a film, written off, since it’s “repelling”, it isn’t erotic, it isn’t a driving symbol. Beyond the excessive and unnecessary shots of behinds, in Mektoub, my love: Intermezzo, Kechiche doesn’t set any limits and leaves his eye be in free will, hunting for that creation of the subconscious male gaze, in a physical film of sun and neon lights.

CANNES 2019: DOLAN, DESPLECHIN, DARDENNE

By Mónica Delgado

Again, a new film by Xavier Dolan confirms the unexplainable side of Cannes. Shot in 35mm, Mathias et Maxime is an example of a film without a course, despite the usual motifs of the Dolan trademark, which continue to give him the fame of enfant terrible (even given his current age): hysteria in the family unit, women in constant ebullition, or romantic stories of homosexuality. A sweetened, insufferable gay love story.

CANNES 2019: O QUE ARDE BY OLIVER LAXE

By Mónica Delgado

O que arde revisits a thematic concern that appears in a big part of the so called “new Galician cinema”: resistance to the distortion of natural or rural life, the fear of losing rites and traditions, and the visions from characters who inhabit these liminal spaces confronted with the modernity of the city and its threat. In this first presentation of Galician cinema in Un Certain Regard (Laxe has already been in Cannes twice with Mimosas and Todos vós sodes capitáns), what was first shown –with a metaphoric intro is precisely the concretion of this disquisition: a centenary tree which refuses to be chopped down.

CANNES 2019: ANG HUPA BY LAV DIAZ

By Mónica Delgado

Historic amnesia and negationism, this two adored practices by dictatorships, are posed by Lav Dias as a state of suspension. He imagines a near future, in the Philippines, where in the middle of a “Dark Killer”, the sunset and the turning of the days in eternal nights, a dictator finds the proper climate to keep cementing his power. The darkness blankets him, and the inhabitants left after the catastrophe, seem to be lethargic under this influence of fear.

CANNES 2019: THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURÍDICE GUSMÃO BY KARIM AÏNOUZ

By Mónica Delgado

There’s a marketing fever that considers that every story of women in the festival, is automatically framed in the waves of feminine empowerment of recent times. This of course, happens with The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão, the new film of Brazilian Karim Aïnouz, a melodrama about two sisters which are separated by the father because one of them was made pregnant by a Greek sailor. If maybe this is a story about how sexism destroyed the family environment in the fifties, the staging full of conventionalisms and stereotypes about women, knocks down any intention of vindication.

CANNES 2019: ATLANTIQUE BY MATI DIOP

By Mónica Delgado

Atlantique’s title makes sense with a turn of the screw, a surprise effect that takes the film out of the love drama to render it as a fantastic one. The sea acquires an oneiric dimension and becomes an element of transit between worlds, of the living and the dead. A young woman if forced to marry someone she doesn’t love, and at the same time, keeps the secret of a love affair. Suddenly, the lover disappears with all the men of the community of Ada’s (Ibrahima Mbaye) friends, in an illegal ship of Senegal, in course to Spain, and after that incident, an ambiance of sad women who just lost their couples sets in.

CANNES 2019: LET IT BE LAW, BY JUAN SOLANAS

By Mónica Delgado

A couple of days ago, Juan Solanas’ Que sea ley was presented in a special projection in Cannes, a film which seeks to be a vehicle to achieve a change of mind for the  decriminalization of abortion in Argentina. Through testimonies of victims and showing various positions in interviews to different political actors, Solanas makes a documentary about the mood that permeated the country before the vote against the project in the Argentinian senate.

CANNES 2019: A HIDDEN LIFE, BY TERRENCE MALICK

By Mónica Delgado

Again we face a film of the Malick trademark. The elements are all there: atmospheric cameras always in unrest, melancholic voice overs spilling pseudo-existential reflections, and a soundtrack which complete the spiritual elevation of the characters. In Malicks cinema, even a rusty chain, an old broom in a corner or a hairy worm over a letter seems transcendent. So, yes, A hidden life is more of the same.

CANNES 2019: PORTRAIT DE LA JEUNE FILLE EN FEU BY CÉLINE SCIAMMA

By Mónica Delgado

Céline Sciamma takes as an inspiration some imaginaries about sisterhood through the times, to appropriate them and return them inside a tal of a lesbian love at the end of XIX century. An abortion, a night gathering of women where they sing and meet around the fire, hallucinogenic potions which are absorbed when scrubbed in the skin appear in different passages of Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, her second film.