Home Architect Jordan Cronk at the 76th Cannes Film Festival

Jordan Cronk at the 76th Cannes Film Festival

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Rodrigo Moreno, Les Délinquants, color, sound, 180 minutes.  Morán and Norma (Daniel Elías and Margarita Molfino).

Rodrigue Moreno, The delinquants, color, sound, 180 minutes. Morán and Norma (Daniel Elías and Margarita Molfino).

AS SHOWN by the announcement of the premiere of Martin Scorsese The Moonflower Slayers, it was the year of the feature film at the 76th Cannes Film Festival. Indeed, while the full list of titles and broadcast times were confirmed as the festivities approached, browsing through the selection began to feel like looking at the barrel of a (very long) shotgun: in addition of Scorsese’s 206-minute opus, there would be new features from Nuri Bilge Ceylan (About Dry Grasses197 min) and Wang Bing (Youth [Spring]212 min), an epic essay by Steve McQueen (busy city262 min), and restorations of long-lasting classics by Jacques Rivette (1969’s Crazy Love254 mins) and Manoel de Oliveira (1993’s Valley of Abraham, 203 mins). A total of eight films eclipsed the 180-minute mark at this year’s festival, while half a dozen others of varying profile hovered just below that threshold, a trend that perhaps says more about the leeway offered by producers in the age of streaming and online platforms. where a majority of viewers will end up watching those movies that Cannes would love to admit.

Fortunately, all but a few of these titles justified the investment, including the Apple TV+ production. The Moonflower Slayersan adaptation of David Grann’s 2017 novel refracted through the cinematic lens of Joseph H. Lewis’ 1958 western Terror in a Texas Town (81 min, naturally), about a corrupt oilman forcibly seizing land from the local Mexican American population. In Flower Moonthe first Scorsese film to be presented in the official selection of the festival since after hours (1986), the oil-rich Osage Nation of 1920s Oklahoma is besieged by wealthy rancher William Hale (Robert De Niro) and his nephew Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), whose seemingly romantic relationship with his wife, a wealthy Osage woman named Mollie (Lily Gladstone), betrays murderous ulterior motives. A mob flick in everything but the middle, it finds Scorsese riffing on familiar themes through a different but equally violent era of American history, an era which, through Gladstone’s powerful portrayal, produced a character of a rare virtue in the director’s work.

Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon, 2023, color, sound, 206 minutes.  Mollie and Ernest Burkhart (Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio).

Martin Scorsese, The Moonflower Slayers2023, color, sound, 206 minutes. Mollie and Ernest Burkhart (Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio).

Flower Moon was one of many curious omissions from the competition lineup. In an open letter to El paEast released during the festival, Spanish director Víctor Erice explained that he had not attended the premiere of his first feature film for thirty-one years, Close your eyes (169 min), because the festival delegate Thierry Frémaux omitted to mention that this beautiful, fragile and elegiac tale of an aging director and his main actor who was believed to be dead would be included in the box of the Cannes Premiere. A few days before, on stage to present Eureka (146 min), his own long-awaited new feature in the same section, Argentinian Lisandro Alonso also chastised Frémaux for not inviting his bold three-part portrait of various remote indigenous communities to compete alongside entries seemingly unmistakable as the aggressive French porn romanticism Stew (134 min) — winner of the director’s prize for Vietnamese companion Trần Anh Hùng — or what we can now begin to refer to, in tender homage to Ken Loach’s latest sugary social drama, the Old Oak of the Cannes competition: Nanni Moretti (A better future), Wim Wenders (perfect days), Hirokazu Koreeda (Freak) and Marco Bellocchio (Kidnapped), all of whom were at least kind enough to present their films in less than 126 minutes.

It is only in this context that Justine Triet could Anatomy of a fall (151 min) be considered an emblematic favorite of the Palme d’Or. Overlong and at times unduly dramatic, it’s a film from a Cannes director (Triet’s four narrative features premiered at the festival) who trades some of his earlier playfulness for something more radical and gives think about it. Starring Sandra Hüller as Sandra, a successful German novelist on trial for the murder of her husband, a struggling French writer named Samuel (Samuel Theis), Anatomy moves methodically between the snowy confines of the couple’s Grenoble home, which they share with their visually impaired eleven-year-old son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), and the indescribable interiors of the courtroom, where details of the death mystery of Samuel and the personal and professional indiscretions of Sandra are rehashed in convincing plot lines. Like Alice Diop’s recent Saint Omer, Anatomy gets a lot of mileage from a mostly procedural premise; unlike Diop (to say nothing of Otto Preminger, director of the film’s namesake ancestor), Triet wears his formal sense loosely and allows the scenes to spread out, with only the occasional wandering zoom used to reorient the viewer’s attention and punctuate moments of humor or irony. As the narrative revolves around its central theme – namely the fleeting nature of truth and the fundamental unknowability of even our most intimate partners – the film builds to a suitably cathartic, if not less clear, climax.

Justine Triet, Anatomy of a fall, 2023, color, sound, 151 minutes.  Sandra (Sandra Huller).

Justine Triet, Anatomy of a fall2023, color, sound, 151 minutes. Sandra (Sandra Huller).

That the rest of the top films in competition are smaller, weirder, and shorter should come as no surprise. The campy melodrama of Todd Haynes may december (113 min), about an actress (Natalie Portman) infiltrating the life of a former tabloid star (Julianne Moore) whom she is about to play in a film, and the typical bittersweet romance of Aki Kaurismäki Dead leaves (81 min), which won the Jury Prize, provided the purest pleasures of this edition. by Catherine Breillat Last summer (104 min), the French provocateur’s first feature film in a decade, is centered, like Haynes’ film, on an illicit relationship between an adult woman and a teenager, only here the affair, between Anne (Léa Drucker) and her stepson Theo (Samuel Kircher), has a sinister Oedipal edge that Breillat wields with a welcome charge of reflexivity. And then there is The area of ​​interest (106 min), Jonathan Glazer’s highly anticipated sequel to 2013 Under the skin, and who arrived in a shroud of mystery and emerged with the Grand Prix. Adapted from the eponymous 2014 novel by Martin Amis (who died the day of the film’s premiere), Glazer’s fourth feature is a singularly disturbing Holocaust drama that quietly depicts the life of Nazi commander Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), his wife Hedwige (Sandra Hüller again), and their young children, who lived in a house just outside the walls of Auschwitz. In static surveillance-like footage, Glazer observes the family’s daily activities – Rudolf working in his office and making phone calls; Hedwig taking care of the children and tending to her garden – as the trains come in the distance, low screams sound from afar and plumes of smoke rise above the adjacent compound. Sometimes the tension rises to such a degree that the film itself seems to stutter and crumble, to regenerate itself: in these moments, imbued with the atonal musical signals of Mica Levi, the image track cuts off, floods of red, passes into a photonegative hell, and emerges again – a formal illustration of the fundamentally endless and cyclical nature of history.

Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest, 2023, color, sound, 106 minutes.

Jonathan Glazer, The area of ​​interest2023, color, sound, 106 minutes.

If the big names in the competition threatened to eclipse the sidebar’s lineup, that only made the sidebar’s highlights more impressive. Among a number of exciting debuts, including Thien An Pham’s Golden Camera, Inside the yellow cocoon shell (182 mins)the revamped Directors’ Fortnight, led by new Chief Executive Julien Rejl, has produced South Korean maverick Hong Sangsoo’s funniest film in years, In our time (84 min), which follows the parallel dramas of a temperamental actress who takes a liking to her friend’s cat and an alcoholic poet who tricks a young fan into buying her booze. But it was the program Un Certain Regard that produced the biggest surprise of the festival: Rodrigo Moreno The delinquants (180 min), the best and most inventive multi-hour opus of this year. Moreno’s first narrative feature in nine years, it marks a major milestone for the 50-year-old filmmaker, who first rose to prominence as part of the New Argentine Cinema movement of the late ’90s. central premise of Hugo Fregonese barely a criminal (1949) – a touchstone of the Argentine film noir that many moviegoers of Moreno’s generation grew up watching on TV – in which a lowly insurance clerk hatches an embezzlement scheme he knows will can only earn him a maximum of seven years in prison, The delinquants focuses on Morán (Daniel Elias), a bank employee in Buenos Aires who steals the company’s safe and enlists his colleague Román (Esteban Bigliardi) to hide the money until he has served the resulting prison sentence. From this seed of idea, The delinquants slowly blossoms into something several times more ambitious as it sets Morán’s storyline aside to follow Román into the countryside, where he hides the money and falls in love with Norma (Margarita Molfino), a woman we soon learn , via an elaborate series of flashbacks, also shares a romantic history with Morán. With its interwoven narrative, epistolary exchanges and stylized sets, the film resembles films produced by El Pampero Cine, the Argentinian collective behind gigantic works like The Flower (2018) and Trenque Lauquen (2022). But where a large part of the production of El Pampero, in particular Trenque Lauquen (whose lead actress and co-writer, Laura Paredes, has a small role in The delinquants), tends towards the literary, Moreno’s film is resolutely cinematographic, with direct references to Hitchcock and Bresson and curious stylistic and thematic allusions to contemporaries like Corneliu Porumboiu and Alexandre Koberidze. Exciting and unpredictable, it was the fastest three hours I experienced in Cannes.

The 76th Cannes Film Festival took place from May 16 to 27.

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