June 15, 2021


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“Daft Punk Electroma”, “Godzilla vs Kong” … What to see (or review) on DVD and VOD this week?

5 min read

♥♥ Judas and the Black Messiah

American biopic by Shaka King, with Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield, Jesse Piemons (2h06). Available in SVOD on MyCanal and for purchase in VOD.

“A police badge is more scary than a gun. A gun, any nigga can find one. With a badge, you have an army behind you. “ The reply passes casually; it has the value of an observation, terrible because it is timeless. At least in the United States, where, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and a year after the murder of George Floyd, which put racism and police oppression back at the center of the debate, films on the fate of the community black are flourishing.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” traces a little-known episode in the history of the Black Panthers, dating from the end of the 1960s: the infiltration within the small Chicago group, led by the charismatic Fred Hampton, of William O’Neal, petty thief enlisted as an informer by the FBI to escape prison. Hampton and O’Neal embody two sides of African-American identity,“Lived experience of the black” dear to Frantz Fanon. The fight and pride on the side of Hampton (impeccable Daniel Kaluuya, crowned with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), peerless speaker, more coconut than hot-tempered, armed supporter of a non-violent revolution who worked to the association between minorities of all persuasions and skin colors within its Rainbow Coalition. Submission and guilt on the side of O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), traitor to the cause, taken hostage by the intelligence services and their appalling COINTELPRO program. On arrival, two victims: O’Neal will commit suicide a few years after the murder of Hampton, riddled with bullets during a punitive raid by the police.

Shaka King’s film is part of the tradition of committed cinema but according to the current canons of the series (where the director comes from), takes advantage of a rich material and interpretation more than the staging. , impersonal. It’s in addition to a few other recent titles – “Chicago Seven” (on Netflix), “Seberg” (on Amazon Prime), “Billie Holiday. A State Affair ”(in theaters June 2) – which features J. Edgar Hoover mirroring the threat posed by Trump. Ultra-reactionary, racist, paranoid, the boss of the FBI for forty-eight years described the protest movements as terrorists, while using mafia methods to annihilate them and keep his America, white and Christian, afloat. Luckily, Trump believed less in his country’s institutions than in foreign dictators.

Nicolas schaller

♥♥♥ Daft Punk’s Electroma

French SF film, by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, with Peter Hurteau, Michael Reich (2006, 1h14). Available in VOD or free on Arte.tv until June 3.

“Daft Punk’s Electroma”, by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. (WILD BUNCH)

To announce their separation on February 22, Daft Punk posted an ideal farewell video. In fact, an extract from their film “Electroma”, which Arte.tv has the good idea to make available to everyone until June 3. This wandering of two robots confronted with the existential void in the landscapes of the American West remains a fascinating aesthetic experience. As on their albums, the duo borrows from works that have marked them (“Gerry”, “Electra Glide in Blue”, etc.), reinventing their favorite elements, clashing textures (visual, sound and musical). Cinema of pure sensation, beautiful as Magritte in the land of John Carpenter.

N. S.

“Never do the same thing again”: when Daft Punk told us his trade secrets

♥ Godzilla vs Kong

New American monster film, by Adam Wingard, with Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall (1h54). Available in VOD on many platforms.

For the summary, we will refer to the very explicit wording of the title: it is the crimping of buns of two supercharged titans. This film borrows from Conan Doyle’s “Lost World” and Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. But also to the series “Stranger Things” with, as a bonus, a nod to “Scoubidou”. It is to say the catch-all. Once accepted the stupidity of the scenario, we can have fun with this monster fight to which the special effects of 2021 offer realism and some effective sequences of castagne. But for the political dimension and to remember that the original film was much more than a low-ceilinged blockbuster, please rediscover Ishirô Honda’s 1954 “Godzilla”, a masterful plea against nuclear escalation.

Xavier Leherpeur

♥♥♥ The Knife in the water

Polish drama, by Roman Polanski, with Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz (1962, 1h34). Available on Blu-ray / DVD at Carlotta.

“The Knife in the Water”, by Roman Polanski.  (POLSKI FILMS / TIGON FILM DISTRIBUTORS / IMPEX-FILMS)

“The Knife in the Water”, by Roman Polanski. (POLSKI FILMS / TIGON FILM DISTRIBUTORS / IMPEX-FILMS)

In the Poland of the gray years, a young filmmaker takes everyone against the grain with his first film, a poisonous drama between three characters – a couple and a hitchhiker -, of which one wonders how the Communist authorities were able to accept it. Polanski’s talent explodes: gall, black humor, the tense atmosphere, everything is there, against a backdrop of class struggle and sexual tension. With his two following films, “Repulsion” and “Cul-de-sac” (also restored and reissued by Carlotta), Polanski imposes himself, with his squeaky world. In addition: three tasty short films.

Francois Forestier

♥♥ Three-of-a-kind

French sketch film, by Henri Verneuil, with Michel Simon, Raymond Rouleau, John Van Dreelen (1952, 1h57). Available on Blu-ray / DVD at Coin de Mire.

Three successive stories, inspired by the three authors of thrillers in vogue at the time. “Death in the Elevator” with the tasty Monsieur Wens (hero of SA Steeman’s novels), played by Raymond Rouleau; “I Am Tender”, adapted from Peter Cheyney, with John Van Dreelen as Lemmy Caution, the FBI agent; and, icing on the cake, Michel Simon en Maigret (unexpected but formidable) in “the Testimonies of an altar boy”, according to Simenon. Solid cinema, which brings the 1950s back to life, with that particular scent of wet dog and patchouli. Nathalie Nattier, in the second sketch, is cute. Limited edition, with digibook, period news and advertisements.

F. F.

♥♥ Schoolchildren

Unpublished French documentary, by Bruno Romy (1h15). Available on VOD on La Vingt-Cinquième Heure.

“School children”, by Bruno Romy.  (THE TWENTY-FIFTH HOUR)

“School children”, by Bruno Romy. (THE TWENTY-FIFTH HOUR)

In three chapters (the group, the duos and trios, finally the solos), Bruno Romy films at child height the daily life of a CM2 class. A pivotal age around which the accomplice of Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (“the Fairy” and “Rumba”) tightens the frame of his camera to tell the way in which girls and boys already belong to the world around them. Shy or brave, studious or dissipated, the characters take shape, dreams become clearer and sometimes crack. By blurring the figure of the teacher to favor portraits of schoolchildren, the filmmaker recounts the civic virtues of public school, but also the loneliness, the anxieties, the hopes of children, these adults in the distant future.

X. L.

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