(Cannes) Every day, La Presse presents films seen on the Croisette.
All of Alice Rohrwacher’s feature films have been released at the Cannes Film Festival. La chimera (The Chimera) is his third to compete for the Palme d’Or, nine years after The Wonders (Grand Jury Prize) and five years after Happy as Lazzaro (prize for the best screenplay). The Italian filmmaker, young forty-something, has imposed a universe sometimes imbued with mystery, which she deploys in a style all her own. His new album is no exception to the rule. Josh O’Connor (whose best-known role is that of Prince Charles in the series The Crown) slips into the skin of Arthur, a man returning after a moment of absence to his small town by the sea Tyrrhenian. Of English origin, but well integrated into Italian society, Arthur is a bit in trouble, insofar as he put his particular gift at the service of a band of robbers of Etruscan tombs and archaeological marvels, including the interest is purely commercial. Arthur can indeed feel the empty spaces under the earth, where the vestiges of the past are often found. By juxtaposing this story with the more intimate one of a protagonist without landmarks who returns to the family of his missing lover, Alice Rohrwacher offers a touching story, always sprinkled with a touch of madness. This fourth feature film by the filmmaker is magnificently interpreted by an impeccable ensemble cast, among which stand out in particular, in addition to the excellent Josh O’Connor, Carol Duarte and the always wonderful Isabella Rossellini. The American distribution company Neon has acquired the exploitation rights for this feature film for North America, which Entract Films will relay in Quebec.
The most awarded of the 21 filmmakers invited to compete for the most beautiful laurel of world cinema closed the competition on an emotional note. Having always placed themes related to social justice at the heart of his cinema, Ken Loach, who turns 87 next month, once again brings to the screen a screenplay by Paul Laverty, his faithful accomplice. Set in 2016 in a small village in the northeast of England, where idleness has prevailed since the dismantling of the coal mine, the story relates the tensions that arise between the inhabitants when Syrian refugees arrive in the village. . The Old Oak is the name of the only pub still open in the area, run at arm’s length by TJ (Dave Turner), a good guy who wants to take part in the collective effort to welcome refugees, while not offending its traditional clientele, who take a dim view of the presence of these foreigners in the town. Echoing the uninhibited racism that is now expressed without embarrassment on social networks and in real life, the story is of course sprinkled with messages underlined in broad strokes, as the British filmmaker sometimes does. On the other hand, the veteran knows better than anyone how to create real moments of emotion, imbued with authenticity. Selected in official competition for the 15th time, already twice winner of the Palme d’Or (The Wind that Shakes the Barley in 2006 and I, Daniel Blake in 2016), Ken Loach could make history by becoming the first filmmaker to obtain the supreme reward a third time. What will the jury say? TVA Films will distribute The Old Oak in Quebec. No release date has yet been set.