♥♥♥ Argentinian-Spanish drama, by Victor Erice, with Manolo Solo, José Coronado, Ana Torrent (2h49).
Funny title for a movie about cinema. Simple and secret, like the art of Victor Erice, 83, a rare author of four feature films, the previous one being “The Dream of Light” (Jury Prize at Cannes) in 1992! At the center of “Closer les yeux”, Miguel Garay, a writer who was a filmmaker for the time of an unfinished film, is asked by a TV show to find its main actor, who has been missing for twenty-two years. From reunions to encounters, Garay will trace the course of his life through that of the actor who has evaporated.
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In “The Dream of Light”, Erice traced the quest for the ideal light by a painter. Here, he recounts that, by a fictional alter ego, of a memory that disappears if it is not printed or engraved on film. By purifying his gesture – everything goes through dialogue and acting, without looking for the beautiful image or staging effect – to flush out the truth of romantic characters and the ghosts of the past.
In this testamentary film, as beautiful as a failed director taking over the song of “Rio Bravo”, “My Rifle, My Pony and Me”, on the guitar, in the company of two old fishermen, there is a wisdom, a melancholy and a purity of the gaze that refer to the origins of the 7e art and a primitive emotion of spectator. « Miracles in the cinemawe hear there, it’s over since Dreyer died. » Would Erice prove us wrong? Nicholas Schaller
♥♥ Turkish drama, by Nuri Bilge Ceylan, with Mehmet Emin Toprak, Emin Ceylan, Havva Saglam (1h22).
North of Ankara, the young Hulya hums edifying texts at school, where her teacher humiliates her, runs through the countryside with her brother Ali – who condemns a turtle by knocking it over on its back –, listens to the conversations of his grandfather, veteran, and his father, fan of Alexander the Great, during a night picnic in a clearing. Black sheep doomed to exile (cousin Saffet), cruelty of society, ideological antagonisms, missed opportunities… All the work of Nuri Bilge Ceylan is in germ in this autobiographical tale from 1997, partly played by his parents, punctuated by the passage of the seasons, placed under the aegis of Bresson through the shot of a donkey with its eye puffed up by flies and shot in sequence shots in a nature magnified by black and white. Sophie Grassin
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Nuri Bilge Ceylan, the Turkish Chekhov: “I like to probe the dark side of human nature”
♥♥ American drama, by Tina Satter, with Sydney Sweeney, Josh Hamilton, Marchant Davis (1h22).
The authentic story of Reality Winner, a young woman who released confidential documents from the American administration in 2017, and who is questioned by the FBI. From the minutes of her interrogation, Tina Satter drew a play, then this film: the dialogues are verbatim, the situation totally conforms to reality. Slow rise in tension, calibrated music, strange suspense. What distinguishes this film from a docudrama is the breathtaking interpretation of Sydney Sweeney, present in each shot; and Trump’s news on the same subject, and, as a result, the incredible paralysis of American justice in the face of a clearly delinquent ex-president. Reality Winner was sentenced to five years in prison. Trump, for now, is free. Francois Forestier
The Beast in the Jungle
♥♥♥ French musical drama, by Patric Chiha, with Anaïs Demoustier, Tom Mercier (1h45).
From the early 1980s to the present day, a couple meet regularly in a nightclub. A unity of place to tell a quarter of a century of musical movements, fluid dances and significant events, from the arrival of AIDS to the attacks of September 11. Tragedies unfolding at a distance from this protective setting where the lascivious bodies of the dancers intertwine. A love story behind closed doors, inspired by a short story by Henry James, narrated by a woman of the night (superb Béatrice Dalle) and filmed like a fairy tale on acid. A hypnotic trance, which will delight night dreamers. Xavier Leherpeur
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Strange Way of Life
♥♥♥ Spanish Western, by Pedro Almodóvar, with Pedro Pascal, Ethan Hawke, Manu Rios (31 min).
Since he was in his seventies, Pedro Almodóvar has been reconnecting with short films, the art of young filmmakers. After “The Human Voice” with Tilda Swinton (in addition to the program), he tackles the western. Commissioned by Saint Laurent, presented at Cannes, “Strange Way of Life” features a sheriff (Ethan Hawke) who sees an ex (Pedro Pascal) reappear, whose son is wanted for murder. They loved each other, still love each other, but the West has its laws and they are not gay. Between respect for codes and queer rereading of photo-novels, Almodóvar iconizes his actors, formidable, and crystallizes the homoeroticism of the genre through two moving characters who wonder about what their life as cowboys as a couple could have been like. . Frustrating that it wasn’t longer. N.S.
♥♥♥ Italian comedy, by Gianni Di Gregorio, with Gianni Di Gregorio, Stefania Sandrelli, Alfonso Santagata (1h37).
It’s Italian cinema as we love it: funny, sweet, full of picturesque little characters and with a story that is tailor-made for our artichoke hearts. Astolfo, a retired professor, retires to an old ruined palace of which he owns a wing. There, he meets a vagabond, a slightly bumbling priest, an old cook, a young broke man and he meets a nice grandmother with whom he will prove that love has no age… It’s Gregorio everything spit: since “the Lunch of August 15”, he refines his character of misguided gentleman with a delicious talent as a storyteller. We come out of there with the certainty that life is beautiful. Gift, then. F.F.
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“Lunch of August 15”, viva Italia!
When the waves recede
♥♥♥ Filipino Crime Drama, by Lav Diaz, starring John Lloyd Cruz, Ronnie Lazaro (3h07).
Ten years earlier, Hermès was one of the best policemen in the Philippines. But faced with systemic corruption and deleterious justice, he decided to denounce his superior and mentor. Once his sentence has been served, he seeks revenge at all costs against his former protege. An (a)moral thriller of more than three hours, filmed in sepulchral black and white. A frontal denunciation of the murderous excesses of a fascistic country, implacably staged by one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers. X.L.
The Jungle Bunch 2: Operation Around the World
♥♥ French animated comedy (1h40), by Laurent Bru, Yannick Moulin and Benoit Somville.
Les aces de la jungle is the all-risk agency in the animal version. A team of borderline animals (their leader is a penguin convinced to be a tiger) who only listen to their courage (or their cowardice) during hectic adventures. In this second episode at the cinema of this television triumph of French animation, they set off on the heels of a super villain threatening to blow up the savannah. A somewhat wise parody of Indiana Jones-style action movies, but with an absurd humor reminiscent of “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Which is a compliment. X.L.