The Festival De Cannes presented Sicario, a powerful thriller, a film genre rare on la Croisette and Marguerite and Julien, a film addressing incest.
Denis Villeneuve (Canada) 2h01
Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario, much-awaited at Festival de Cannes 2015, is an suspenseful and engaging thriller that masterfully tackles the relentless war that the US Government is fighting against the drug cartels.
The border has moved… Not the lawless one between the US and Mexico where the action of Sicario is taking place, but between the security forces’ legal action and a dirty war using radical and unspeakable methods against the drug cartels.
An interagency force
Kate, a FBI agent (Emily Blunt) discovers the horror in a raid on a house linked to Manuel Diaz, a member of a cartel: 35 kidnapped hostages dead bodies are hidden in the walls. Following this, she is integrated into an inter-agency intervention group led by Matt (Josh Brolin), an enigmatic agent of the Defense, advised by a mysterious consultant, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), a former prosecutor from Cartagena in Colombia.
Amazing incursion in Ciudad Juarez
Kate first takes part as an observer in an incursion into Mexico, in Ciudad Juarez (nicknamed The Beast) for the exfiltration of Guillermo, the brother of a cartel leader, featuring an amazing sequence of urban violence. Guessing she’s not told the whole truth on the operation she’s involved in, she questions Alejandro who replies: “explaining the cartels would mean explaining the mechanism of a watch. Just read the time!”
Free weapons on cartels
The truth is disclosed in the course of a well constructed scenario: the presence of Kate is a justification for extra-judicial activities – and later, murder – that the CIA decided to practice to finally stem the violence and daily killings by untouchable cartels. Using the cartels’ methods, including torture, the CIA turned to Alejandro, now a “Sicario” – a hitman in cartel slang. Enraged by the murder of his wife and daughter by traffickers, he will mercilessly take revenge.
In the country of wolves
The performance of the actors is excellent: Emily Blunt perfectly plays the agent who, despite herself, is diving in a dirty war, personifying America’s conscience – and even naivety – when entering the “country of wolves” and its “new deal”… Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin also play very well their part of macho and relax but lethal threat. Sicario is also a film of natural scenery with wide shots of landscapes in New Mexico with gorgeous colors and beautiful, tormented skies. To add to the tension, the film is punctuated by oppressive layers of synthetic music.
Sicario is a great, mind-blowing thriller, but to win the Palme, it is perhaps lacking of the social or psychological dimension the Festival de Cannes is fond of. But it’s on the fast track to win the directing award.
Marguerite et Julien
Valérie Donzelli (France) – 1h50
From an original idea and screenplay by Jean Gruault, Valérie Donzelli addresses the loving relationship between a sister and a brother through an original and endearing film.
Only the executioner’s ax can separate them. Neither the family nor the church, neither separation nor forced marriage could get the better of the incestuous love between Marguerite and Julien. The story comes from the 17th after a couple existing under the reign of Henry IV in France.
Marguerite (Anaïs Demoustier) and Julien (Jérémie Elkaïm) are Lord of Tourlaville’s children – Jean de Raval (Frédéric Pierrot) – a local country squire. They tenderly love each other since childhood, in a fusional relationship, and living one for the other, exchange vows of eternal love.
When growing up, they attract the concern of their uncle, the Abbot of Hambye (Samy Frey), a rigorist religious who sees evil everywhere and fears that Marguerite diverts Julien from the straight and narrow. The two children will suffer a first separation when Julien is sent to the Coutange college with his brother. Will follow a long journey of study in Europe, while Marguerite is prepared to look after a house, make a man happy and bear his children…
The two brothers returned to the castle when young men. To the gay carefree childhood then succeeds the first suffering of love and Marguerite sharpens Julien’s desire by pretending to marry a young man from a good family. One night, the innocent games of childhood become the forbidden games. Unable to resist their feelings, the two lovers scandalize their family and society.
All processes will be used to separate them, but it was inevitable: the lovers flee on a cold night and are hunted.
Treated like a tale
Marguerite and Julien is treated by Valérie Donzelli in the manner of a refreshing tale to mitigate the scope of the subject being dealt with. To the story set in France in ancient times, the script adds delicious anachronisms: one moves around aboard horse-drawn carriage or… helicopter, one can follow the lovers on the run on the radio. The tale of love/curse is served by young talented actors with already confirmed talents, evolving in gorgeous landscapes that add to the romantic dimension of the adventure.
Margaret wrote: “You can not separate the blood from the veins, the sap from the tree, or the salt from the sea…”
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