“The Last Duel”, “Eiffel”, “Arise women! »… Films to see (or not) this week

♥♥♥ The Last Duel

American historical drama by Ridley Scott, with Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck (2h32).

It’s a #MeToo lawsuit when women’s rights were in science fiction. Or a demonstration by the absurd. In 1386, Marguerite de Carrouges, wife of the knight Jean de Carrouges, accused Jacques Le Gris, her husband’s ex-comrade in arms, of rape. A kamikaze revelation for her who risks repudiation. But, between Le Gris and Carrouges, it is a matter of honor and scorned friendship. The first shares the depraved customs of the Count of Alençon, who has made him one of his favorites. Unlike the second, despoiled of part of his land by Alençon who sees in him only a rustic squire. Carrouges and Le Gris will face each other in the last legal duel: for lack of evidence, we appealed to God, who, according to beliefs, granted victory to the honest man in a fight to the death. Other times, other manners. Though.

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Before being one of two films signed by Ridley Scott (83) this year (the other, “House of Gucci”, will be released on November 24), “The Last Duel” is the first screenplay co-written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. since “Will Hunting”, which revealed them twenty-four years ago. Now consecrated stars, in part thanks to the support of Harvey Weinstein, have they adapted the eponymous book by Eric Jager on this little-known episode in our history to make amends – in particular Ben Affleck, targeted by accusations of inappropriate behavior ? By endorsing the surcoat of debauchery Pierre d’Alençon, the actor maintains the ambiguity while serving the noble cause of this “Rashomon” under Charles VI. The idea of ​​presenting the successive versions of the three protagonists is not new, but remarkably held, Damon and Affleck having taken care to add a female gaze (screenwriter Nicole Holofcener).

Confronting points of view and making them evolve, this is one of the major challenges of the #MeToo movement translated here within a story, close to serial writing, which continues to gain in nuance and complexity while that Ridley Scott’s physical staging guarantees the show. Raw, the battle scenes are striking. And what actors! Adam Driver, star aura in power, plays another type of toxic seducer after “Annette”; Matt Damon, mullet cut and broken skin, is even more ugly than in “Stillwater”; and Jodie Comer, from the “Killing Eve” series, stands up to them with class. With two or three errors of taste (why do the soldiers sing in French while the film plays the convention of making everyone speak in English?), This is a great show, adult and stimulating, as we no longer thought of Hollywood capable of producing it. Nicolas schaller

♥ Eiffel

French romance by Martin Bourboulon, with Romain Duris, Emma Mackey, Pierre Deladonchamps (1h49).

This is not a biopic. The foundations are real: Gustave Eiffel, in his youth, loved an Adrienne whom life took away from him. But the frame is fictitious: their reunion and Adrienne’s role in the design of the Eiffel Tower are fantasized. Regardless of historical accuracy, “Eiffel” is intended to be a popular romance with a heritage background, “Titanic” style. We are far from it. The photo is neat, Emma Mackey (from the series “Sex Education”), very good, but the film is ripoliné, love story cosmetic, without breath or personality. Like Romain Duris, on automatic pilot. From this pure export product (budget: 23 million euros) float the few scenes on the construction of the monument. Nothing vibrates except the tower. N. S.

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When the tower becomes hell: the long story of the film “Eiffel”

♥♥♥ Julie (in 12 chapters)

Norwegian drama by Joachim Trier, with Renate Reinsve, Anders Danielson Lie, Herbert Nordrum (2h08).

Joachim Trier completes his Oslo trilogy with this melancholy portrait of Julie (Renate Reinsve, interpretation prize at Cannes), in his thirties who hesitates between successive vocations, balance between two men, fight against assignments to motherhood that still refers to her a post- # MeToo company. The dialogues bite. The staging allows itself poetic licenses, such as that of stopping time during one of these twelve chapters except for Julie and her lover. The seduction sequences renew the genre of romantic comedy by playing with flirtation and its limits. Reinsve dazzles in this cruel and gracious emancipatory novel about a young woman in search of herself whom Trier swims with abrupt drama and sense of loss. Sophie grassin

♥♥ Freda

Haitian drama by Gessica Geneus, with Néhémie Bastien, Djanaïna François, Gaëlle Bien-Aimé (1h29).

Go or stay in Haiti? Between endemic misery, aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, social chaos, Freda, a young resident of Port-au-Prince, dreams of other horizons. Attachment to the country, fear of the future, the rise of violence, everything is mixed up, and the obvious: we will have to tear ourselves away. The first fiction film by documentary filmmaker Gessica Geneus, the story is a personal odyssey, imbued with melancholy, both touching and harsh. At a time when the images of the repression of Haitian migrants on the Texas border scandalize the world, “Freda” is a generous, lucid look at a failed country. The director practices, with talent, a velvet neorealism. Francois Forestier

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♥♥♥ The Translator

Syrian drama by Rana Kazkaz and Anas Khalaf, with Ziad Bakri, Yumna Marwan, David Field (1h45).

July 2000. Bashar al-Assad succeeds his father. Two months later, during the Sydney Olympics, Sami (Ziad Bakri), official translator of the Syrian team, is guilty of a (slight) slip in front of the press. This is enough to make him an outcast for Damascus and force him to stay in Australia, with political refugee status. In March 2011, the Arab Spring reached Syria, where the population demonstrated against the Baathist regime. It’s civil war. Sami, whose brother was arrested and tortured, then decides to return illegally to his native country. And to fight, with the rage of an Arab Quixote. This first film by a Syrian couple (having dual French and American nationality) is a dive, as if in direct contact, into a tragedy that will never end. Here, the tyrant is invisible, but he is everywhere. A powerful and overwhelming film. Jerome Garcin


The man of the cellar

French drama by Philippe Le Guay, with François Cluzet, Jérémie Rénier, Bérénice Béjo (1h54).

FOR. A civilized man buys a cellar from a couple with ailments, he says, to store his archives there. In fact, he settles there. Former history teacher removed from National Education, he does not have the means to live elsewhere. The sellers (Jérémie Rénier and Bérénice Béjo) will quickly understand the reasons for his destitution and his banishment: the outcast is a negationist coupled with a conspirator. And nothing could dislodge him from the moldy basement where he rehashes his dark thoughts. The way in which, in this unhealthy film taken from a true story, François Cluzet takes on the dubious mantle of this hateful character is both startling and disconcerting. With him, abjection has a smooth voice. JG

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VERSUS. Is it a dubious film or so awkward that it perverts its ambition? Either we have to take it at face value, in which case we can wonder about its propensity to make us more unbearable than the ersatz (very credible) of Robert Faurisson the family of sores which hosts him in spite of herself. Either we must see in the ridiculous pataques provoked by the latter at the idea of ​​sheltering a negationist a criticism of Wokism, so easily inclined to give importance to phenomena which would not have it otherwise. In one case as in the other, “the Man of the cellar” lack of spirit and of wickedness, confit in its mediocrity of telefilm thriller. N. S.

♥ Storia di vacanze

Italian drama by Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo, with Elio Germano, Barbara Chichiarelli, Lino Musella (1h40).

Chronicle of a summer in a poor suburb of Rome, where teenagers endure the filthy vulgarity of their parents to the point of tragedy. It is no longer “Ugly, dirty and wicked” but “Beasts, handsome, and violent”. Heirs without humor to Todd Solondz, the D’Innocenzo brothers have a paw that scratches less than it wears out quickly. Their thing? Overwhelm the characters without any existing other than to serve their execrable vision of humanity. For them, adults are pigs and children are silent victims. “I regret having told you this insane, bitter and pessimistic story”, concludes the narrator in a final fit of cunning. Shared regret. N. S.

♥♥ The Wolf and the Lion

Franco-Canadian adventure film by Gilles de Maistre, with Molly Kunz, Graham Greene, Charlie Carrick (1h39).

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The title is self-explanatory. Or almost. Taken in by a wolf then a young solitary pianist, a lion cub promised to the faint future of a race animal and a wolf cub arousing the appetites of a scientist grow together and become the best friends in the world. The fable recalls that animals, less stupid than humans, can love and help each other without worrying about racial barriers. After “Mia and the White Wolf”, a clumsy fiction set in Africa, Gilles de Maistre invests the steeper landscapes of North America. Deceptively candid, his screenplay denounces the exploitation of animals and educates young audiences about the animal condition. Xavier Leherpeur

♥♥ Stand up women!

French social documentary by François Ruffin and Gilles Perret (1h25).

It all started with an improbable collaboration: that of François Ruffin, deputy of La France insoumise, and Bruno Bonnell, of LREM. Both designated to describe the fate of invisible women who take care, in France, of the fragile populations that are the sick and the elderly. As Ruffin (partly) holds the camera, the directorial bias immediately favors him. But, little by little, a form of complicity sets in between the two enemies, who discover the extent of the economic and social injustice to which these workers of human solidarity are victims. Their poignant portraits highlight the precariousness of their status and an insufficiently recognized dedication. An activist film to try to repair one of the flagrant injustices of our country. X. L.

♥♥ Their Algeria

French documentary by Lina Soualem, with Aïcha and Mabrouk Soualem (1h12).

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In the Soualem family, there is Zinedine, actor with a successful career, accomplice among others of Cédric Klapisch, his father, Mabrouk, expatriate of the first generation who left Algeria for Auvergne, and the wife of this- here, Aïcha. Aïcha who, after sixty-two years of marriage, decided to get away and leave her husband. Discreet earthquake, in its image, and opportunity for their little daughter Lina, actress seen among others at Hafsia Herzi, to tell the fate of these uprooted women, tossed about, crossing their existence in the shadow of a patriarchal culture that does little case of their desires. Carried by the complicit questions of her granddaughter, very modest, Aïcha tells herself more than she does not reveal herself and dares to say in front of the camera her frustrations and her regrets. An overwhelming journey towards a late but salutary emancipation. X. L.

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