The Festival de Cannes’ race for the Palme d’Or, launched yesterday by Todos lo Saben by Asghar Farhadi, continues today with Yomeddine, the first film of the young Egyptian and Austrian director A.B. Shawky and Leto (The Summer) by the Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, still under house arrest in Moscow.
Yomeddine, the first film of young Egyptian and Austrian director A.B. Shawky, is featuring two pariahs crossing Egypt in a donkey cart road movie: a healed leper seeking his roots and a Nubian orphan in search of a home. Leto (The Summer) by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov is the headline story, as the director, also Artistic Director of the Gogol Center, who received the 2016 François Chalais Prize in Cannes for The Disciple, is accused of diversion of funds, and is currently under house arrest in Moscow. He will be away from Cannes.
Todos Lo Saben, the family drama turns into a trhiller
Todos le Saben: everyone knows, everything is said in small villages, where the land and its wealth, the possessions and fortunes of the different classes, possessors or workers, fuel conversations, but also resentment and hatred. All families have their secrets, but that of Laura (Penelope Cruz), who returns to Spain in a village in Castile, for the wedding of her sister Ana (Inma Cuesta), will weigh on Irene, his teenage daughter (Carla Campra) who accompanies her with his brother Diego (Ivan Chavero). The father of the children, Alejandro (Ricardo Darin) had to stay in Argentina, and Laura finds Paco (Javier Bardem), her love of youth.
The gears of life
From the opening credits, Asghar Farhadi draws an allegory: in the church tower of the village, the large gears of the old clock turn, one driving the other, such as shafts and gears of life circumstances. An action causes a consequence until a spring, stretched to the maximum, is released and life rings the bells. This is what happens to the protagonists of this family. Irene, Laura’s daughter, a rather adventurous teenager, disappears during the wedding. A few hours later the first SMS comes: she was kidnapped… Although it is necessary to wait for the wedding to see a real event, other than trivialities, reunions and family embraces, the plot is built progressively. But it is sometimes heavy, or clumsy, as if the director was piling the scenes, trying to draw our attention to a crucial clue.
Victory or failure on land
Farhadi excels in bringing life to his characters, thanks to the excellent actors. But the characters do not always express their full depth. We know that there is a big secret, a major revelation, but we see it coming from a distance, and Farhadi loses power in the process of creating tension from a very original scenario, with the potential to transform an explosive family story into a thriller.
On the other hand, in addition to this lack of dramatic blast, the surrounding nature is very little put forward, while the history of the family was built of victory or failure on these lands: hard work on a sterile soil to make it flourish or poker losses of the patriarch, landlord squanderer.
The Red carpet of Yomeddine
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