‘Pacifiction’ dances with the game of power while delighting with images of the Polynesian islands in a story where the nuclear threat has its space
Albert Serra (Bañolas, Gerona, 46 years old) premiered the film ‘Pacifiction’ in a big way in the official section of Cannes. His arrival, received with applause before and at the end of the show, highlighted the admiration of the French for the Spanish director who was accompanied by the Minister of Culture, Miquel Iceta.
A contemporary Serra travels to exotic Tahiti, where actor Benoît Magimel becomes the island’s High Commissioner, handling its shady affairs with alacrity. The idea of paradise lost is present in this twisted feature film where the set offers many possibilities. «He wanted to make a political history in a framework that was not bourgeois. The title refers to the idea of pure fantasy. It is the complete opposite of the series on platforms where everything is analyzed excessively» said Serra, winner of the Gaudí (the Catalan Film Academy awards) in 2009 for ‘The song of the birds’ (El cant dels ocells)
There are many other characters that interact with the protagonist, including a transsexual with whom he has an indefinite relationship, played by Pahoa Mahagafanau, and the Admiral (Marc Susini), a very strange man who will take a disturbing path. Slowly, the narrative becomes a metaphor for political tension and people’s mistrust of governments.
Without a doubt, Serra is one of the most interesting voices at this year’s Cannes because he takes us to the beautiful waters of Tahiti to remind us that we have to talk about the nuclear issue. “We shot the entire film in Polynesia for a month during the pandemic,” revealed the filmmaker. «The film talks about things of today, this that was not in the previous films that I have made, it is in ‘Pacification’. Formally, he continues with what he has been doing until now because I am a director who does not give concessions in his aesthetics, that is why I am one of the few who makes auteur films”, explained the director.
Sorogoyen and ‘As bestas’
Serra was not the only Spanish director with a red carpet at Cannes. Rodrigo Sorogoyen (Madrid, 40 years old) premiered his film ‘As bestas’ out of competition. Almost a western where the characters intend to take justice into their own hands. The spirits are so unnerved in the small Galician village to which Sorogoyen takes us, that a game of dominoes in a bar is lived with fear on the surface. The neighbors are confronted by windmills, the lands, the lives that never were. Galicia could be Kansas for this film by the director of the award-winning ‘The Kingdom’ and the also acclaimed series ‘Antiriot’.
“It’s the idea of the outsider taking on the locals. All of them are in the bar, playing, a space where the spark becomes an affront. I decided to emphasize that feeling of western movies, shooting with a camera in an almost archaic way and very different from what I’ve done so far. Subgenres fascinate me. This is the time to subvert the genres. Every time I see a movie where a director tries to do that, he gets my vote,” Sorogoyen admitted.
‘As bestas’ has a luxury cast in which Denis Ménochet, Luis Zahera and Diego Anidó stand out. The story presents a French couple trying to reinvent their life in a rural setting, in a remote village in Galicia with skies covered with stars. If for them it is paradise, for their neighbors it is a hell from which they try to get out at all costs. “Land and property rights are two important themes in the narrative. Because in rural, supposedly idyllic places, living is not so easy, and there are thousands of conflicts,” Sorogoyen warned.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.