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Iron Claw, The Last of the Jews, May December... Films to see or avoid this week

Biopic de Sean Durkin, 2h13.

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Iron Claw, The Last of the Jews, May December... Films to see or avoid this week

Biopic de Sean Durkin, 2h13

Greco-Romans? Not really. To classic wrestling, the Von Erichs prefer Texan wrestling, with its good old tricks, its folklore and its swagger. They have it in their blood. The father invented the shot that gives the film its title. It is a question, with this iron vice, of gripping the head of the adversary and compressing his temples until he faints. Charming hobby. All this is strictly true. Fritz raised his clan with an unyielding hand. His dream was for them to become world champions in their category. Only sons. He demands too much. How do you measure up? This education in schlague generates collateral damage. A curse seems to weigh on the family. During a conversation, we learn that the eldest died at the age of 6. Since then, Kevin has protected his three younger brothers. In their genre, they are stars. With their bodies of ancient gods, their hair of pop singers (we are in 1980 or so), they perform at the gigantic Sportatorium in Dallas, participate in television shows, and are entitled to the front pages of specialized magazines. In the street, the young ladies ask them for autographs. This life of blows and glitter has a price. These operetta gladiators will experience a long cohort of tragedies. There will successively be an intestinal hemorrhage in a Tokyo hotel, a motorcycle accident (missing a foot), a benign operation that goes wrong. Behind the joyful vulgarity, the ranting on the microphone, hide a loneliness to die for, destinies in tatters. Sean Durkin looks at these misfortunes with a brutal melancholy, a rough tenderness. Broken from the inside, the mother counts on God to watch over her little world. Fate has spared her so little that, once again in mourning, she does not want to wear the same black dress as at the last funeral. Violence is not only unleashed in the ring. She reigns in this house where a monster devours her people, without realizing anything. The patriarch is worthy of Pat Conroy's Prince of Tides. The grayness of the home contrasts with this colorful, thunderous sport. It's a circus. It's theater. These followers take it seriously. Their faith makes this touching. IN.

Also readOur review of Iron claw: brothers of tears

Dramatic comedy by Noé Debré, 1h30

No good Jewish story in cinema without Enrico Macias. In the recent Pour ton mariage, a self-portrait with Allenian accents, Oury Milshtein found the videos of his wedding, thirty years earlier. By marrying the daughter of Enrico Macias, the wedding became a disproportionate show to glorify the singer. In the last sequence of The Last of the Jews, Macias appears in an INA archive. He performs I left my country. Ruben Bellisha, the hero of Noé Debré's first film, never leaves any blue sea. He leaves behind him a gray suburb. But this is the city where he grew up and lived until his twenty-seventh year. A city that the Jews left. “ There are more and more black people in the neighborhood! But where are the Arabs? », laments Bellisha's mother, Gisèle (Agnès Jaoui), nostalgic for Algeria. She keeps saying that they must leave, to Saint-Mandé or to Israel. The father seems to have been gone for a long time. Noé Debré obviously wrote and shot The Last of the Jews before the Hamas attacks of October 7. But, if his film has a very strong resonance with current events, between the specter of the importation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rise of anti-Semitism in France, it is neither a sociology treatise nor a victim indictment . It's a comedy in the form of an indolent chronicle. It owes a lot to its main actor, Michael Zindel. A sort of Sephardic Vincent Lacoste. Curly hair, nasal voice, lanky figure, burlesque nature. He only goes out to shop at the market. He lies like he breathes so as not to hurt his mother. He hides from her that the kosher grocer has closed. Her cousin Asher, as talkative as Bellisha is shy, tries to find him a job. Selling heat pumps in a suit and tie does not seem like a job for him. Like no job, in fact. At the Jewish employment agency where he goes with the vague desire to make aliyah, he is advised to join the army. Funny idea. Everything seems to be slipping away from the young man. Only his mother's illness, and her imminent death, obscures the boy's carelessness. The emphatic voice-over that accompanies Bellisha's dull daily life is a pastiche of Albert Cohen. The Last of the Jews is The Book of My Mother in a suburban film version. It is above all a good Jewish story, that is to say a tragedy told in the style of a comedy. E.S.

Also readOur review of The Last of the Jews: Farcical Destiny

Romantic comedy by Will Gluck, 1h47

Six centuries after his death, Shakespeare remains a fertile source of inspiration. Loosely inspired by Much Ado About Nothing, this pastiche features with great verve a modern-day Beatrice and Benedict who take a dislike to each other after an inconclusive first night. They are determined never to meet again except that his best friend (his) and his sister (hers) get married and invites them to the wedding in Australia. To scare away a former suitor, Bea (Sydney Sweeney, Euphoria) suggests to Ben (Glenn Powell, Top Gun Maverick) to make their loved ones believe that they are together. From hatred to love, the line is thin. Especially when the good words and the nasty things are flying around. This Bea, very much of the 21st century, delivers blow for blow. A fan of bodybuilding but a poor swimmer, Ben and his ephebe vanity take it for granted. Will Gluck has a lot of fun with the direction, borrowing certain tricks from the theater (didascalia included), while taking advantage of the spectacular views and landscapes of the Antipodes. And in passing he allows himself a very amusing pastiche of Titanic. In the end, Everything But You is a comedy full of wit and humor, despite its foregone conclusion. And turns out to be a little deeper than Ben's favorite line "stupid but fun" suggests. C.J.

Melodrama by Todd Haynes, 1h57

This colossal light gray building, crushed under the sun of Savannah, Georgia, could be the subject of a painting by Edward Hopper. Outside, a terrace with a view of the lake and a barbecue loaded with grilling sausages. Inside, in the kitchen with its fridge full of drinks and cakes, a whole family comes alive before welcoming their guests on July 4, Independence Day. A perfect representation of the “American way of life”. But on closer inspection, like the works of the famous painter, this quiet image of everyday life seems to hide another. The insistent music of Michel Legrand, that of Le Messager used as theme music in the show “Faites l'accused”, accentuates the unease. Because there was indeed a crime and an accused, but twenty years ago. When Joe and Gracie met, he was only 13, she was twenty-three older. Convicted for their relationship, Gracie was sent to prison, where she gave birth to their first child. They have since married and have a seemingly happy family life. But the arrival of Elisabeth (Natalie Portman), a famous actress who has come to observe them to immerse herself in her next role, that of Gracie in an adaptation of their story, will shake everything up. In this new melodrama after Carol and The Museum of Wonders, Todd Haynes was inspired by a case that hit the headlines at the end of the 1990s, that of Mary Kay Letourneau, a 34-year-old mathematics professor convicted of embezzlement of minor on Vili Fualaau, his young student. Through this freely adapted story, the director questions the denials and the relationships of domination within the couple, attempting to identify without really answering the driving forces of this relationship twenty years later, while they have built a life together. His hushed study of morals resembles the work of a naturalist in front of insects. The spectator observes Elisabeth observing Gracie and Joe who himself observes caterpillars creating their chrysalis in a box. A game of mirrors that is intended to be disturbing but becomes heavy by insisting on the looks and mimicry between the original model and the one who will play her role, between Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman. However, this promising face-to-face meeting does not convince, surrounded by a strange but too artificial atmosphere. V.B.

Also readOur review of May December: forbidden love à la Haynes

Musical comedy by Blitz Bazawule, 2h20

In 1985, Steven Spielberg brought The Color Purple to the screen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. In early 20th century Georgia, Celie, a black teenager, went from an incestuous father to an ignorant and equally violent husband. Living in the hope of finding her children and her younger sister, she showed great resilience. If Whoopi Goldberg's acting had been praised, the melodious and redacted vision of the American director, suspected of cultural appropriation, had been more contested. These are the blind spots that this improbable singing remake of the hit Broadway musical intends to rectify. This new version is full of energy and captures the life force and faith that drives Celie (Fantasia Barrino). The RnB singer is at ease in folk and blues melodies which allow herself some escapades through gospel. The words and music are catchy, bring a touch of magical realism and draw the viewer into the imagination of Celie in search of her roots. More militant, more anchored in African-American culture and more feminist, this Color Purple nevertheless comes up against the limits of its format. How do you find the right balance between the brutality and racism of the time and the almost magical lightness inherent in the musical? In these moments of weakness, Ghanaian director Blitz Bazawule, collaborator of Beyoncé, knows that his strength lies in his trio of heroines: Celie, her overly proud daughter-in-law Sofia (Danielle Brooks) and her husband's bewitching mistress Shug (Taraji P. Henson). A foolproof sisterhood. C.J.

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