The Festival de Cannes 2013 presented today two exotic thrillers, one taking place in Bankok, Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn and the other in Djamena, Grigris by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun.
The huge star Robert Redford walked up the Red Carpet for All Is Lost by J. C. Chandor, a film screened out of competition.
Only God Forgives by Nicolas Winding Refn
Two years after Drive that garnered him the Best Direction Award at Cannes, the Danish filmmaker is back in competition with a dark and violent film, shot in Bankok with his favorite actor, the Canadian Ryan Gosling.
The original idea of Nicolas Winding Refn was to make a film about a man who wants to fight against God. Thus, the hero who is a gangster, will fight against a character who thinks he’s God, Chang, a strange Bankok retired policeman. Billy, Julian’s brother, who had slaughtered a young prostitute, was in fact killed by the crusader ex-cop – both judge, jury and executioner – and their mother demands that Julian satisfies his thirst for revenge.
After revisiting the American Criminal film, the director revisits the martial arts films. His character, Julian, who fled the American justice, runs a Thai boxing club hedging his drug trafficking. At the same time, it delivers an existential vision of a gangster in search of a religion he may believe in amid conflicting mother-son relationship, referring to Greek mythology with Bangkok for background. The film evokes a sense of Karma: every time you do evil, something bad will come back to haunt you.
Only God Forgives is starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas Vithaya Pansringarm
Grigris by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The fuel traffickers are everywhere in N’Djamena, capital of Chad. They load their cars with gas cans and engage in chases with customs officers. Grigris, a young dancer with a paralyzed leg leaves his dream of dancing aside to save his sick uncle, and began working for the traffickers.
The story of the Chadian filmmaker was masterminded from the story of Souleymane Démé, a dancer with a disabled left leg. The director explains: “I like starting from documentary material to go towards the imagination, which is the place of all the questions and all perspectives.” Grigris and Mimi are two are marginal, da isabled and a Métis woman, who find themselves in the world of the night, where one tries to survive despite adversity. The thriller addresses prostitution in Africa and is interesting in downgraded and marginalized, because as Haroun explains: “When you are in the center, it is quiet and it is an aesthetic and ideological conservatism. Conversely, the margin is the adventure, the place of movement, of life; it is the margin that can irrigate and contaminate the center. ”
In 2010, A Screaming Man won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and in 2011, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun is a member of the Official Jury at Cannes. “Grigris” is his fifth feature film.
Grigris is starring Souleymane Démé (Grigris) et Anaïs Monory (Mimi).