The Festival de Cannes 2013 competition featured today two films dealing with social struggles, The Immigrant by James Gray, taking place in early last century New York and Michael Kohlhaas by Arnaud Des Pallières, taking place in the sixteenth century in the Cevennes.
The Immigrant by James Gray
Ellis Island, the arrival point for thousands of European immigrants is the first piece of America Ewa Cybulski and her sister set foot on when arriving in New York after their trip from native Poland in 1921.
Leaving poverty behind them, they want to start afresh and grab their share of the American dream. But the dream turns into a nightmare as doctors declare Magda ill and quarantine her, leaving Ewa, desperate to reunite with Magada, going alone ashore in unknown New York with nowhere to turn. Ewa quickly falls prey to Bruno, a predator lying in the wait for distraught girls, who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. Bruno’s cousin, Orlando, a dashing stage magician will help her restore her self-belief and hopes, but they will have to count with Bruno’s jealousy.
The Immigrant further explores James Gray’s interest with social class as his immigrant experience is relating to his Russian Jewish heritage.
The Immigrant is starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner
Michael Kohlhaas by Arnaud Des Pallières
Arnaud Des Pallières said: “You read Michael Kohlhaas as you follow the traces of a fireball.” Michael Kohlhaas is a novel by Heinrich Von Kleist, inspired by the true story of a pious and of integrity horses merchant who, victim of the injustice of a lord, raised an army and put a province of Germany to fire and blood for redress.
While in cities a new world grows, in the countryside, in French Cevennes, a small impoverished aristocracy still clings to its feudal privileges inherited from the Middle Ages. On the brink of overthrowing the country, the revolted merchant dissolved its army and returned home, becoming an ordinary man, because he got what he wanted from the beginning: his complaint will be examined by a court.
Michael Kohlhaas is the story of one man opposed to the whole society. Franz Kafka, who loved the book that was his favorite, used to say that the reading of Michael Kohlhaas had been the cause of his desire to write. The French director is know as well to be the sreenwriter and editor of his own movies.
Michael Kohlhaas is starring Mads Mikkelsen, Bruno Ganz, Sergi Lopez.