Drame de Molly Manning Walker, 1h28
At first glance, How to Have Sex combines all the clichés of a teen movie. After high school exams, three friends arrive in a Mediterranean seaside resort dotted with low-cost hotels. Tara, Skye and Em are determined to have fun. They rush to the beach while waiting to get their room, chatter like magpies, gorge themselves on fries from trays, swim screaming and never stop taking selfies. This overexcitement is not a posture, it is a state which will only cease when they sleep between two parties, two evenings, two drinking bouts, two vomits. “Have fun,” they tell you, and also – this is important – lose your virginity. This seems to be Tara's primary objective, which her two friends encourage to the tune of “cap or not cap? » On this hackneyed theme of spring breakers-style bacchanals (2013), Molly Manning Walker knits a more ambitious film - it won the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival last May. A film which explores the gray areas of sexuality among young people and more specifically young women, a theme now often addressed in cinema. The director opted for the frontal without procrastinating. Romanticism is not her cup of tea. By plunging the three friends into what looks like a giant orgy for young people delighted to be there, she depicts a world that no rules come to constrain but where injunction dominates. : that of having fun with everything and at all times, the one where saying no seems as incongruous as calling your parents to assure them that you have arrived safely. Above all, don't show the shadow of a dilemma. Envy competes with disgust, euphoria with unease, excitement with dejection. Because, of course, it was written, the first time was not going to happen as she had imagined then clad in her dictates of a cool and uninhibited girl, but in a constrained and brutal way. Cautious nonetheless, the director remains at the height of her heroine, not letting go of her hand, as if to also accompany the young spectators who will not fail to go see this film with its claimed educational virtues. F.D.
Also readOur review of How to Have Sex: sleepless night and dark desires
Dramatic comedy by Robert Guédiguian, 1h46
It all begins with a collapse, in the very center of Marseille, but ends with a rebirth, that of a woman facing the sea. To the crash of the buildings which collapsed on rue d'Aubagne in 2018, a social drama as a preamble to its film, Robert Guédiguian seeks harmony and embraces enchantment through the portrait of Rosa, the solar heart of his choral work. Rosa, wonderfully played by Ariane Ascaride, is on all fronts. Nurse in a hospital under pressure, activist on the list of the (dis)union of the left during municipal elections, mother, grandmother, specialist in pasta with anchovies and walnuts, a family dish which brings together an Armenian legend and flavors of the Phocaean city. Busy with her work, she is also busy with her family. But her meeting with Henri (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), a former bookseller, will lead her to think about herself again and to listen to her own desires. The director of Marius and Jeannette and the Snows of Kilimanjaro once again develops, with Marseille as a setting, the themes that are dear to him: political commitment, solidarity, the denunciation of social poverty, transmission, the situation in Armenia. All are intrinsically linked, approached a little in all directions through characters who are sometimes too secondary, but with great generosity. With his family of loyal actors, he has not lost his indignation, but also has fun with it. In the midst of this family turmoil and daily struggles, the couple formed by Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Ariane Ascaride seems almost dreamlike. Accompanied by the wonderful music of Michel Petrossian, filmed in close-up at night in a car, seated at the water's edge or dancing at the bottom of a building, these old playing partners with obvious complicity distill a sweet melancholy full of tenderness. The final line comes from Rosa, her eyes fixed on the Mediterranean. “We must constantly affirm that nothing is over, that everything starts again. V.B.
Also readOur review of And the party continues! : Enchanted Marseille
Documentary by Barbet Schroeder, 1h46
Barbet Schroeder has kept, over the years, the beautiful predatory smile that gives him his charm. Calm, precise, attentive, he waits for questions like the formidable documentarian he was for his Trilogy of Evil, defining his subject without a word too many for General Idi Amin Dada: self-portrait (1974), not forgetting the setting sweaty Burma for The Venerable W. (2016). Nothing impulsive, nothing simplistic, neither in a sentence nor in a plan. Reality is a complex thing to study closely. Everything requires accurate observation of the facts. The story is thickened by significant details that say everything about the character, such as Claus von Bülow's English accent barely veiled in German, masterfully interpreted by Jeremy Irons in The Mystery of Bülow (1990). Today he confesses to having met the real Claus von Bülow before filming. The Cinémathèque is dedicating a retrospective to him until December 18. This non-conformist intends to defend “the most unpopular of (his) films, Inju, the beast in the shadows, released in 2008 and almost forgotten”. In Ricardo and painting, Barbet Schroeder, 82 years old, brings the same broad and meticulous look to his painter friend, the Argentinian from Brittany, Ricardo Cavallo, as he walks with his equipment towards the motif and its sea cave or that he cooks his daily rice, like a monk. He shares on screen the passion of this Argentinian who arrived in France in 1976, voluntarily exiled since 2003 in Saint-Jean-du-Doigt (Finistère), for the history of art and its masters, Velázquez, Caravaggio, Delacroix . He would entrust him, he tells us, with the first chapter of his Trilogy of Good. V.D.
Also read: Barbet Schroeder: “In all the arts, there is madness”
Fantastic by Stephan Castang, 1h48
You should always be wary of interns. Best case scenario, they want to steal your place. At worst, they want to kill you. In Vincent Must Die, the intern wants Vincent's skin. It's not a metaphor. After leaving a meeting, the young man tries to beat up the insignificant graphic designer played by Karim Leklou with a laptop. An ordinary service sector employee, an ordinary bohemian in his bubble, a single city dweller and a Lyonnais with no history, Vincent has no enemies. However, when the kind accountant from his company attacks him in turn by sticking a pen in his arm, doubt sets in. Later, it was his neighbors' adorable children who attacked him on the stairs. Or the postman who drags him into a brutal melee in a septic tank. The first half of Vincent Must Die is a gem of dark humor and a powerful allegory of our paranoid and on-edge society. A simple exchange of glances marks Vincent as a potential target. The desire to kill is transmitted like a virus, as contagious as Covid-19. Mathieu Naert (screenplay) and Stéphan Castang (director) know their classics (John Carpenter, George A. Romero). They have the intelligence not to ape their American elders, keeping a French anchor to this funny and brutal “survival”. The second half is less convincing. Vincent's exile in the countryside far from the madding crowd is justified. But his romance with Margaux (Vimala Pons), a lost waitress who lives on a boat, doesn't go very far. Will love save Vincent from the madness of men? Perhaps, but above all it undermines a scenario that has so far been impeccable in terms of rhythm and inventiveness. Vincent's meeting at a motorway rest area with Joachim, a member of a clandestine network of victims of these murderous impulses, begins an interesting path. Unfortunately, it was also quickly abandoned. When Act II is weak, you might as well shorten it rather than drag it out. E.S.
Also readOur review of Vincent Must Die: Psychosis of Life
Docufiction de Mona Achache, 1 h 35
Mona Achache has Marion Cotillard play the role of her mother, Carole, who committed suicide. But she starts from her grandmother, Monique Lange, publisher and friend of Jean Genet, pushes towards perverse crime, to understand a family and self-destructive neurosis. If the docufictional device is sometimes clumsy, the story of this unhappy matriarchy is quite moving. E.S.
Science-fiction de Francis Lawrence, 2 h 37
Return to Panem with this part which takes place sixty years before Katniss Everdeen's rebellion and follows the slide towards the dark side of Corionalus Snow. The future tyrant is a penniless Rastignac who places his hopes in a tribe in the poorest district. Francis Lawrence weaves a gripping dystopia here. But this suspense is spoiled a little by an ending known in advance. C.J.