Wednesday, October 5

Albert Serra storms out with ‘Pacifiction’ for the Palme d’Or


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GreatSpanish film day in Cannes, a film competing for the Palme d’Or, ‘Pacifiction’, by Albert SerraY ‘As bestas’, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen in the Cannes Premiere section. Of course, if you scratch, you can see that both are French co-productions, and if you scratch a little more, you see that all the Spanish cinema that has come this year is a French co-production, that is, in addition to these two, also ‘El water’, by Elena López Riera, and ‘Goya, the listening eye’ (which in France is called ‘L’ombre de Goya, par Jean-Claude Carrière’), by López Linares. But the sentence is picked up where it left off: Great day of Spanish cinema in Cannes and here was the Minister of Culture (Spanish and in co-production with…) to celebrate it.

‘Pacifiction’ exhibited all its qualities to count in the fight for the Palme d’Or, it is beautifully shot in French Polynesia, it has a French protagonist, Benoît Magimel, who has already won an acting award here, it points to a clear political, nuclear intention and overall, manages to maintain the plot and visual intrigue during its huge footage and has that special temperature and aroma that are so appealing for a festival like this. Albert Serra has refined and sharpened his cinematographic peculiarities at the service of his story, and without totally losing his inclination to ‘whim’, a little more interest in the narrative and the development of the story can be appreciated.

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There are two good characters in the plot, the one played by Magimel, a high-ranking official of the Republic stationed there, and the elusive and suggestive one played by the actor/actress Pahoa Mahagafanau, whose presence gives him weight, burden, ‘promise’…, something that without she would leave the film without a shadow. In addition to directing, Albert Serra has written the script, and perhaps the company of another screenwriter who does not understand him as well as he does would have been convenient for him so that the uniqueness of this director It will balance without leaving characters and loose piecesand those that exist are well constructed and have their narrative function or dysfunction.

In ‘Pacifiction’ there are great moments of joyful filming of the sea, waves, surf, boats…, of exceptional capture of moments and landscapes, with a dark, nocturnal, sticky and dangerous setting and a great effort on the part of the director so that the dialogue and the action are explained without being clarified, without falling into the obvious. For packaging, intention and solution no one should rule it out for the award.

Sorogoyen’s, ‘As bestas’, does not compete but it is a film that dislodges any wisp of air from your body, leaves you in the void with that story in a remote village in Galicia and with characters so well written and interpreted, so full of reasons, unreasons, riches and miseries that the film boils from beginning to end. A French couple settles in the village with calm and ecological purposes with agriculture and landscape conservation, and collide with the interests of some countrymen fed up with abandonment, precariousness and the murria of generations. The sale of land to turn it into a wind farm is their solution, but it is an all or nothing that the French couple is not willing to admit. Sorogoyen builds thrillers, westerns, naturalistic, social films… Sorogoyen is a great filmmaker and places each brushstroke, each color, each gesture, feeling and argument in its precise place and moment. All interpretations are capitalizedbut Luis Zahera’s is tremendous, impressive, outrageous.

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The competition also showed the films of Kore Eda, ‘Broker’and of Lukas Dhont, ‘Close’. The former, who won the Palme d’Or with ‘A Family Affair’, takes up his favorite themes here, family, adoption, the value of blood and ‘touch’ and, finally, that line between the sentimental, the human, the humorous, the moral and the legal. Around a newborn abandoned by his mother, Kore Eda builds a history of feelings and police investigation very suitable to be seen and enjoyed, but with some components of risk (she has shot it in Korea and perhaps they are not there), such as that evident position in favor of not having an abortion, of assuming motherhood whether or not she assumes the role afterwards of Mother. In short, a gigantic matter resolved with simplicity and heart by Kore Eda.

In ‘Close’, Lukas Dhont exposes another matter as gigantic or more, and with impressive subtlety and without falling into the slightest cliché. Two friends of thirteen years, inseparable, almost brothers, with an absolute dependence of one on the other and that, a comment without malice from some schoolmates (they ask them if they are a couple) radically changes the situation between them. The treatment of the dramatic, his jump (elegant, content) to the tragic is full of emotion and is a hornet’s nest for reflection.

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