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“Mi Iubita, my love”, “Sundown” … The films to see (or not) this week



♥♥ Mi Iubita, my love

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French drama by Noémie Merlant, with Noémie Merlant, Gimi Covaci, Sanda Codreanu, Clara Lama-Schmit, Alexia Lefaix (1h35).

Four girlfriends in a car. They leave to bury the life of a young girl of one of them, in Romania, type the discussion and bicker. At a service station, theft of their car and their identity papers. Only way out? Squatting with locals. “What do they want?” » questions, unkindly, the mother who welcomes them before the barrier of mutual distrust breaks down. ” Take a shower. – At four ? » The first feature film by actress Noémie Merlant, author of “Shakira”, a short noticed on the Roma community, has the merit of reversing the usual representations. Here, it is the French women who first appear as the most deprived. Jeanne (Noémie Merlant), 27, starts looking at Nino (Gimi-Nicolae Covaci, handsome as a god, also co-screenwriter of the film), who claims to be older than he is: 21, brags he. His clan grills him: only 17, in real life.

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Autobiographical, self-produced, filmed with a handheld camera in sixteen days, largely in the Covaci family, “Mi iubita, my love”, love film, surfs on the thirst for freedom, the desire to break the rules, the beauty of the present moment, the magic of the first times. It is not free from blunders (too many shots on Noémie Merlant, a story of local gangsters that does not convince). But he knows how to let a party last and a man to tell his story, to film the skin, the sweat, the bodies at the beach with sensuality – on a mind-blowing electro music – or a joyous trip to a fairground. He also imagines a love scene between Jeanne and Nino all in delicacy, modesty and benevolence, where the influence has no place; constantly looking for the accident. He doesn’t idealize anything either: not sure that these two worlds are reconcilable. Luàna Bajrami, discovered this year with the hill where the lionesses roar”, and Noémie Merlant – both actresses in Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a young girl on fire” – have in common their desire to fly to other lands (her native Kosovo for Bajrami), where the girls roll around in the box in the summer, hair in the wind, the desire to give voice to those who don’t have it or not enough, and a desire for cinema capable of devouring the screen. Getting started is never easy. Those of Noémie Merlant are undoubtedly imperfect, but energetic and touching.

Sophie Grassin

♥♥ Sunset

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Mexican drama by Michel Franco, with Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Iazua larios (1h23).

Neil, a wealthy Englishman, is vacationing in Acapulco with his sister, niece and nephew. Informed of the death of his mother, Neil must leave. Claiming an oversight, he disappears, cuts off all contact and prolongs his stay, alone. Is he crazy, depressed or just empty? A massacre on the beach provokes no reaction from him… Somewhere between reading “The Stranger”, by Camus, and the tone of Haneke’s films, the director Michel Franco adopts a cold tone that mixes the absurd and the denunciation of a society dominated by the rich. A curious character study, intriguing and unsatisfying, this existentialist film is carried at arm’s length by Tim Roth, a superb zombie whose mystery remains intact.

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Francois Forestier

It stands out

♥♥♥ The terrace

Italian dramatic comedy by Ettore Scola, with Marcello Mastroianni, Ugo Tognazzi, Vittorio Gassman, Serge Reggiani, Stefania Sandrelli, Carla Gravina (1980, 2h30).

On the terrace of a villa, the Roman intelligentsia represented by five intellectuals – scriptwriter out of fuel, producer despised by his wife, member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) on the fringes of the party… – crowd around the buffet. It’s time to take stock, age coming, and there is nothing brilliant about it. How did they fail? Where did their ideological commitment stop? Ettore Scola models their individual introspections on the collective introspection of a tired Italy. Nothing has been seen more just, more universal, more buffoonish or more desperate than these solitary men reproducing the dance of the buns of Charlot in a restaurant, giving in to their neurosis of self-mutilation or going to die under the fake snow of a RAI shoot which they had initially vetoed.

Sophie Grassin

♥♥Destruction Babies/Becoming father

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Japanese dramas by Tetsuya Mariko, with Yûya Yagira, Masaki Suda, Yu Aoi (2016, 1h48; 2018, 2h09).

A small strike arrives in the big city of Matsuyama to satisfy his taste for fighting, followed closely by his little brother, who seeks to bring him back to the fold. A puny office worker wants to save his honor after the rape of his pregnant fiancée by one of his friends, a rugby player. Puerile violence and masculine toxicity are on the program of the first two films by young filmmaker Tetsuya Mariko to be released in France. Two strange objects, unattractive, with a naturalism transfigured by the outrageous acting of the actors (one thinks of Zulawski), too Japanese perhaps for us to appreciate all their facets. Adapted from a hit manga, “Becoming Father” is the most interesting. Beginnings of a singular work or flash in the pan? Anyway, real curiosities.

Nicholas Schaller

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♥ Marcel!

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Italian comedy by Jasmine Trinca, with Alba Rohrwacher, Maayane Conti, Giovanna Ralli (1h33).

Marcel is a dog. Star of a traveling circus number performed by a whimsical young woman accompanied by her granddaughter, he is also the disturbing element in the relationship between the two women, a relationship haunted by the absence of the father. The day Marcel disappears, the fragile balance of this melancholic duo gradually collapses. Too long, too vague in its staging, too inconstant in its screenplay, weighed down by existentialist dialogues that lend themselves to laughter (“We come from the country that has the answers” !), this fable signed by the Italian actress Jasmine Trinca is saved only by the solar interpretation of Alba Rohrwacher. This is unfortunately insufficient.

Xavier Leherpeur

♥♥ Costa Brava Lebanon

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Lebanese dramatic comedy by Mounia Akl, with Nadine Labaki, Saleh Bakri, Yumna Marwan (1h47).

We can clearly see what actress Mounia Akl, for her first film as a director, wanted to do: a parable on the situation in Lebanon, a country torn apart, where the garbage crisis in 2015 and the explosion of grain silos in 2020 revealed the extent of the chaos. Here, a family who moved out of Beirut to enjoy a healthy life is threatened by the creation of a waste disposal center “green”, but overflowing with toxic crap. The situation is deteriorating… Some beautiful poetic images (flaming rubbish flying away in the night, the swimming pool tinged with red water), an ecological message and an elegant production.

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Francois Forestier

♥ The Auschwitz Report

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Slovak historical drama by Peter Bebjak, with Noël Czuczor, Peter Onderjicka, John Hannah (1h34).

The (authentic) story of these two deportees who escaped from the death camp in April 1944 at the cost of a thousand sufferings and who testified before the incredulous Allies is obviously poignant. Especially since the film takes on a topical dimension, with the rise of the extreme right and the hints of fascism that are spreading to Europe. But the unease persists: seeing actors made up, in costume, directed, enlightened, in the context of Auschwitz, is disturbing. There are moments that the cinema cannot translate. From where the distance in front of a film which displays excellent intentions, but which sins by… staging. Should we see Peter Bebjak’s film as a salutary reconstruction or as a spectacle that shouldn’t be one? It’s up to everyone to judge.

Francois Forestier

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It missed

A summer like this

Quebec dramatic comedy by Denis Côté, with Larissa Corriveau, Aude Mathieu, Laure Giappiconi, Samir Guesmi (2h17).

The very overrated Quebecer Denis Côté, whose supposedly quirky and punk tone continues to create illusions at festivals, pushes the doors of an institute for young women addicted to sex here. A hypersexuality that they nevertheless seem to appreciate, but which, in the writing of the filmmaker, becomes a shoddy nymphomania for erotic films of the fourth part of the evening on the cable. The chic and fake packaging, interminably talkative and pseudo-intellectual, hardly has any effect, barely concealing the ambiguous gaze of a director obliquely observing bursts of feminine desire (a young girl fucks a whole team of young footballers, a another flirts with a trucker, promising him that he will be able to enjoy all of his orifices…). Fantasies that are those of an alpha male and straight.

Xavier Leherpeur



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