From Denis to Dardenne, the 19 films competing against Italy – Cinema

Twenty-one films in competition between emigration, family stories, religious fundamentalism, Korean mountains and wrong marriages. In short, a small part of the whole is what the nineteen films in the running at the Cannes Film Festival (17-28 May) against the two Italians tell: NOSTALGIA by Matteo Garrone and LE OTTO MONTAGNE by Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch. Here in a nutshell the plots of the nineteen films.

THE STARS AT NOON by Claire Denis based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Denis Johnson is a romantic thriller set in Nicaragua amidst violence and political unrest. Here Taron Egerton, an employee of a shady British oil company, meets a troubled journalist (Margaret Qualley) in a hotel bar.

UN PETIT FRÈRE by Léonor Serraille stars Rose, a woman of Ivorian origin who arrives in France in the 1980s and moves to the Parisian suburbs with her two children, Jean and Ernest. From there she began her difficult work of integration up to the present day.

SHOWING UP by Kelly Reichardt instead tells the story of a sculptor (Michelle Williams), grappling with the preparation of her new exhibition, which should mark a turning point for her artistic career. In the meantime, however, she is also forced to manage the daily dramas of her family and her friends. It is the fourth time that Williams and Reichardt have worked together.

CRIMES OF THE FUTURE by David Cronenberg with Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen, a sci-fi thriller that sees the Canadian director revisit the genres of science fiction and body horror absent from his filmography since the days of eXistenZ.

CLOSE by Lukas Dhont. 13-year-old Leo and Remi have always been incredibly close, but they drift apart after their relationship is questioned by school friends. When a tragedy strikes them, one is forced to confront why he has distanced himself from his closest friend.

TORI ET LOKITA by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. Belgium today.
A young boy and a teenager traveled alone from Africa to escape the cruel conditions in which they were forced. Life in exile will not be easy, they will have to rely on their invisible friendship.

BOY FROM HEAVEN by Egyptian-born Swedish director Tarik Saleh is a political thriller that takes place at a prestigious religious university in Cairo. After the summer holidays, the great imam dies in front of his students. It is the beginning of a merciless battle to take his place.

HOLY SPIDER by Ali Abbasi tells of a family man, Saeed, who as a religious quest chooses to “cleanse” the holy Iranian city of Mashhad of immoral and corrupt street prostitutes. After killing several women he is desperate for arousing so little interest in his divine mission.

TOURMENT SUR LES × LES Albert Serra. On an island of Tahiti, in French Polynesia, the Haut-Commissaire, representative of the French state, catches the anger of the locals when there are rumors of a submarine that would announce the resumption of nuclear tests.

ARMAGEDDON TIME by James Gray with Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins is a coming-of-age tale inspired by the director’s life in the pre-Reagan United States, specifically in the borough of Queens, New York.

FRÈRE ET SOEUR by Arnaud Desplechin played by Marion Cotillard tells the story of a brother, teacher and poet, and an actress sister, who after twenty years of no contact meet again when their parents die.

EO by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski is a contemporary adaptation of Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, in which the life of a simple donkey was a means of exploring human kindness and ingratitude.

Park Chan-wook’s DECISION TO LEAVE follows the story of Detective Hae Jun who, while investigating a mysterious death in the Korean mountains, meets the victim’s widow, prime suspect in the murder, and begins to have mixed feelings for her.

In Hirokazu Kore’eda’s BROKER, a self-proclaimed “broker of good deeds” finds a family to an abandoned baby in a box, but he and his partner are joined by the child’s single mother, regretting her choice, and two agents of police.

TCHAIKOVSKY’S WIFE by Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov tells the tumultuous relationship between Pyotr Cajkovskji, the most famous Russian composer of all time, and his wife Antonina Miliukova whom he married and immediately abandoned.

Cristian Mungiu’s RMN, and produced by the Dardenne, follows Matthias, who returns to his native multi-ethnic mountain village in Transylvania. When the local factory hires foreign workers, impulses and resentments emerge and the veneer of peace in the community is destroyed.

LEILA’S BROTHERS by Iranian Saeed Roustayi has as its protagonist the forty-year-old Leila who has always taken care of her parents and her four brothers. The family is crushed by debts: the woman has a plan to save them from poverty, but her father is hiding something from him.

TRIANGLE OF SADNESS by Ruben Ostlund, Palme d’Or for THE SQUARE, is set on a sinking luxury cruise ship. A model couple on board. Third part of a trilogy about being male in our time.

LES AMANDIERS by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi takes us back to the 80s. Here the 20-year-olds Stella, Etienne and Adèle have just passed the entrance exam for the prestigious theater school founded by Patrice Chéreau and Pierre Romans. Together, they face their first loves, but also their first tragedies.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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