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The Zone of Interest, They Shot the Piano Player, Amelia's Children... Films to see or avoid this week

Drama by Jonathan Glazer, 1h45.

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The Zone of Interest, They Shot the Piano Player, Amelia's Children... Films to see or avoid this week

Drama by Jonathan Glazer, 1h45

Next door is hell. Behind the garden wall there is the camp. In the Höss family home, life continues as if nothing had happened. Monsieur, with his medieval haircut with shaved temples, runs Auschwitz. Madame prunes her climbing roses. What's more normal ? This brave housewife keeps up appearances. She knows, though. On the extermination, silence is required. The exemplary couple shares the tasks. The gas chambers are his; the smooth running of everyday life is for her. The camera will never cross the cursed border. There are these guttural cries, these explosions, these barks. The barbed wire hardly pretends to be there for decoration. There is something enchanting and quirky. The children, five of them, bathe while bickering in the swimming pool with its wooden slide. It looks like they're on vacation, that this suburban house is a sweet resort. The final solution does not prevent picnicking by the lake or swimming in the river which carries curious waste. You can be responsible for thousands of deaths and read fairy tales to your daughter at night to help her fall asleep. Rudolf Höss sleeps peacefully, but he carefully locks all the doors before going up to his room, as if to prevent the miasma from outside from spreading into his home. The SS parade to congratulate him. In the living room, guests are having coffee, little fingers raised. In the next room, an engineer reveals the plans for the new crematorium. Torture is a job like any other. Executioners? Which executioners? They are technicians, civil servants, cunning petty bourgeois. Evil is too banal to invade their privacy. This universe is compartmentalized. In the barracks, the nightmare is a reality. Frau Höss tries on a fur coat in front of her mirror, the origin of which we can guess. Sandra Hüller, dapperly blonde, terrifyingly impassive, has a sudden burst of laughter that freezes the veins. During a high-level meeting, her husband watches the audience, perched on the steps of a staircase, and wonders how long it would take to get rid of all these dignitaries in uniform. Overzealous. The task would be difficult: the ceilings are too high. Suddenly he felt sick. The nausea comes a little late. It doesn't last. Jonathan Glazer, a rare filmmaker in every sense of the word, films motionless vertigo, with the power of an uppercut in slow motion, with the serene fullness of genius. The director of The Zone of Interest was inspired by a novel by Martin Amis, keeping its essential essence. The adaptation transcends its model, which is not so common. The work on sound is impressive, which produces two films: the one we see and the one we hear. The mixture is astonishing. E. NOT.

À lire aussiNotre critique de La Zone d'intérêt: silence, on tue

Animation by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, 1h43

Pianists sometimes have a hard time in the cinema. In Shoot the Piano Player, François Truffaut practices his skills with Charles Aznavour, targeted by gangsters. In They Shot the Piano Player, Fernando Trueba pays homage to Truffaut's Four Hundred Blows. A way of reminding us that the New Wave and bossa nova were launched at the same time by young Parisians and Brazilians in the early 1950s. They Shot the Piano Player, co-directed with his accomplice Javier Mariscal, is not a documentary ordinary. It's a dive into Brazilian music, a journalistic investigation and a political thriller. All drawn by the Brazilian comic book author, Marcello Quintanilha, Golden Fauve at the Angoulême Festival in 2022, already at work on Chico and Rita, the previous animated film by the Spanish tandem Trueba and Mariscal . We find its clear line and warm colors. The pianist of the title is called Francisco Tenorio Jr, the best kept secret in the history of jazz. In March 1976, while accompanying Vinicius de Moraes on tour, he disappeared in Buenos Aires, on the eve of the military coup. He went out one night and never came back. Tenorio only recorded one album under his name (Embalo, in 1964). He has also accompanied the big names of bossa nova, such as Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Trueba only discovered his existence in Brazil in 2005 through a record. He began to do research, in the style of Jeff Harris, an American journalist from the New Yorker, whom he invented in They Shot the Piano Player. The alter ego of the director, to whom actor Jeff Goldblum lends his voice, the most “caliente” and jazzy in all of Hollywood. All the musicians interviewed praise Tenorio's refined touch. His mistress, Malena, present with him in Buenos Aires, and his wife, Carmen, also bear witness to the genius and fanciful personality of Tenorio, entirely devoted to music. But They Shot the Piano Player is not a compilation of interviews. It is a recreation of the artistic and musical excitement of Rio in the 1960s and 1970s. They Shot the Piano Player can be listened to as much as it has been watched. But the colors become darker as the truth emerges. In Buenos Aires in 1976, wearing long hair and a beard was enough to get you arrested. It doesn't take much for General Jorge Rafael Videla's henchmen to mistake Tenorio for a dangerous leftist... É.S.

Also readOur review of They Shot the Piano Player: the quest for a little-known jazz genius

Thriller by Gabriel Abrantes, 1h31

With his youthful appearance, his clean appearance and his round glasses, we can't imagine Gabriel Abrantes being 40 years old. We also wouldn't guess that the American-Portuguese director represses so many neuroses. Amelia's Children, his second feature film after Diamantino, which just won the jury prize at the Gérardmer Fantastic Film Festival, proves that the filmmaker has craftsmanship and trauma to exorcise. He swears that he has an excellent relationship with his mother and that his film draws on Greek myths (Oedipus, Medea), Goya's paintings (Saturn devouring one of his sons) and American horror cinema (Psychosis, Shining, Get Out) and Italian (the “giallo”, especially Suspiria and The Shivers of Anguish). But since when are filmmakers supposed to be believed? The prologue features a mother with her two babies in a sumptuous villa in Portugal. A woman breaks into the house and kidnaps one of the twins. Thirty years later, the infant has become a handsome and tall guy, Edward, a New York orphan in search of his origins. When his biological mother and brother contact him, he takes his girlfriend, Ryley, to Portugal. His brother, Manuel, looks exactly like him, with long hair to boot. The same actor, Carloto Cotta, plays both roles with beautiful schizophrenia. The meeting is moving, the hugs long and tender. The mother is slow to appear. Tired, she stays in bed. However, she is worth a look, with her botoxed face. Her model, claimed by Abrantes, is the Duchess of Alba, a decadent Spanish aristocrat and excessive consumer of cosmetic surgery. At night, Ryley overhears noises and strange conversations. Manuel, when he is not sharpening his hunting knife, sleeps with his mother. By day, Amelia is the happiest mother. Ed, upset by this late maternal love, signs a contract which he understands nothing about. “ Our little secret,” his mother whispers. She hides others. Gabriel Abrantes, a gifted and devious pasticheur, has retained the precepts of Blum House, the American production company that supplies horror films on a mass scale: few characters, no extras, just one setting. But it is distinguished by a European perversion and refinement. It perfectly balances black humor and sleepless nights. E.S.

Also readOur review of Amelia’s Children: incest horror

Drame d'Amr Gamal, 1h31

For around thirty years, no commercial film had been released in Yemen. In 2018, projected with the means at hand, on wooden screens painted white in wedding rooms specially rented for the occasion, Ten Days Before the Wedding had enjoyed real success in Aden, where it remained on show. displayed for eight months. The film, nominated for an Oscar, even represented Yemen in Hollywood. Its director, Amr Gamal, is one of the rare Yemeni filmmakers in this country ravaged by a conflict between Houthi rebels and the government supported by Saudi Arabia. His testimony is all the more precious. He returns with Les Lueurs d'Aden, a feature film inspired by a true story and almost filmed as a documentary on the daily life of a middle-class family fighting against precariousness, in the city marked by the consequences of civil war. October 2019. In an apartment full of boxes, a radio transmitter broadcasts the information. The upcoming reopening of schools has been announced. But the situation is tense. In public schools, school supplies, desks and books are lacking and teachers are on strike for lack of pay. Teachers are not the only ones not receiving their salaries. A former employee at Aden TV, Ahmed has not been paid for months. Retrained as a driver, he barely earns enough to support his family and educate his three children. They are preparing to move to more modest accommodation. In this difficult financial context, the pregnancy of his wife Isra'a is not welcome. He decides to put an end to it, but access to abortion in this Islamist country is very restricted. Cornered, Ahmed and Isra'a bet everything on the help of a doctor friend. It's difficult not to be touched by the strength of this film which takes us to the heart of Aden, this little-known city in southern Yemen, isolated by years of war. We feel Amr Gamal's attachment to this port city from which he comes and which he films through its architecture and its streets as an act of resistance and preservation. But reality has not forgotten its inhabitants. Like the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation), Amr Gamal exposes, through this couple in the middle of a crisis, a middle class sinking into a society divided between a more modern liberal aspiration for a few and the weight religious traditions. The first Yemeni fiction film to be distributed in France, Les Lueurs d'Aden deserves not to remain in the shadows. V.B.

Also readOur review of The Lights of Aden: the light on Yemen

Drama by Pierre Godeau, 1h31

François Damiens, we first discovered him in his avatar of François l'Emmbrouille. Disguised, with slicked back hair, hidden behind glasses, in a police officer's uniform or behind a shampoo container in a hair salon, he trapped anonymous people and celebrities alike in hilarious hidden cameras. Before revealing himself on the big screen, from L'Arnacœur to Complices via La Famille Bélier. In Sous le vent des Marquises, the fourth feature film by Pierre Godeau, we find him again in makeup, unrecognizable with a wig and a dental prosthesis in the role of Jacques Brel. Or rather in the role of Alain, a renowned actor, hired to play the Belgian singer in a biopic about his last years. But Alain is not going to sing, he will rather be disillusioned. His doctor told him that he had to have surgery as soon as possible to treat cancer, otherwise it would be too late. From then on, the life of Jacques Brel that he plays in front of the cameras, that of the man worn out by the stage and media demands, collides with his own. The evening after filming, removed from his make-up and freed from the character's artifices, he fled, not to the Marquises like the interpreter of Les Vieux Amants, but to a Breton island where his ex-wife runs guest houses with his daughter. Lou. The latter, who criticizes him for having abandoned them in favor of his career in cinema, does not welcome him with open arms. But after reading the film's script, the young woman ends up getting closer to him. She herself reinvents their relationship, inspired by the image of Jacques Brel setting out on the seas on a sailboat for a world tour with his daughter. All the accuracy of play and poignant humanity of François Damiens blows Under the Wind of the Marquesas. Touching with uncertainty, he surely finds here one of his most beautiful roles, as moving as it is astonishing. At his side to play his daughter, the actress Salomé Dewaels revealed in Lost Illusions by Xavier Giannoli, confirms a real, magnetic talent. Unfortunately, the parallels between fiction and reality, the family reunions and the story of the last years of Jacques Brel's life illustrated by archive images, end up turning into artifice. Damage ! The cards were there at first, presaging a beautiful original and tender comedy about cinema with the mise en abyme of an actor and the role that obsesses him. V.B.

Also read: Our review of Sous le vent des Marquises: François Damiens in the wake of Brel

Documentary by Gilles Perret, 1 hour 29 minutes

The release of La Ferme des Bertrand was dated a long time ago, well before the agricultural crisis and the anger of the peasants which shook France. Against shortcuts and sensationalist reports, perorations and political recuperations, Gilles Perret's documentary sheds moving light on fifty years of peasant history. Perret had already filmed the Bertrands in Three Brothers for a Life. As a neighbor. Their house is less than 100 meters from his house. In the Giffre valley, between Geneva and Chamonix. It was in 1997 and the film remained unreleased in theaters. The director uses images from this time when the three brothers were still alive. Joseph, Jean and André were already old but still vigorous. They are still mowing the meadows, bare chested and disheveled hair. They are in the process of passing on their farm and their dairy cows to their nephew Patrick and his wife Hélène. Twenty-five years later, Hélène, a widow, passed the baton to her son Marc and her son-in-law Alex. Robotization of milking is underway. André, the last uncle still alive in 2022, observes this evolution without nostalgia. “ You had to make everything out of nothing,” he recalls. For him and his brothers, the work is in the meadow. Happiness, maybe not. These three single people did not start a family. “ It’s an economic success but it’s a failure on a human level since we only did that,” says André. Modernize, leave, or die. “ In life, there is not only the satisfaction of money, there is that of leaving nature clean,” said André in 1997. He is not an ecologist; he is a mountain dweller and a peasant. The Bertrand farm is organic without having the label. Neither silage nor intensive cultivation. Unlike his great-uncles, he can take one week of vacation per year and rest every other Sunday to spend time with his children. E. S.

Also readOur review of La Ferme des Bertrand: the work is in the meadow

Thriller de Kei Ishikawa, 2h01

They were only missing that. Rie had already divorced. With custody of the child. She ended up remarrying, had a little girl and lost her husband in an unfortunate accident. What a tile! It didn't stop there. Soon she discovers that the deceased was not who he claimed to be. In front of the photo of the missing person, the brother of the real Daisuke is categorical: he is an imposter. A building collapses on his neck. We never know anyone. Only one solution to unravel this imbroglio: hire Kido, a lawyer of his friends. In this rural Japan, the lawman of Korean origins comes up against the prejudices of the locals. His investigation will take him to a prison in Osaka. The meetings in the visiting room with this devious inmate are enough to disturb the most hardened souls. The truth is full of traps. The cards are getting blurred. Was the fake Daisuké the son of an assassin? Was his job as a lumberjack a cover for him? And why had he taken up boxing? The successive revelations stir up buried feelings in everyone. The manhunt questions the kid who considered the mythomaniac a dad for good. The investigation progresses gropingly, gets lost in false leads, turns into a manhunt. A Man, with its elegant thriller feel, is contemplative and metaphysical. We analyze the weight of the past. The clues are hidden in an anonymous postcard or perhaps in this gallery where works of death row inmates are exhibited. Ordinary racism, sins of the fathers, social divisions, Kei Ishikawa mixes profound themes with velvety grace and the prudence of a laboratory assistant. You must not relax your attention to penetrate this twisted plot where it is a question of identity and transmission. The director probes the abyss, practices slow-burn cinema, lingers on a wrist adorned with a tattoo, goes back into a complicated family tree. He films construction cranes the way Ozu used to show lamp posts. In the end, things come full circle. E. NOT.

Also readOur review of A Man: my husband is another

Spy comedy by Matthew Vaughn, 2H19

Guy Ritchie's sidekick, Matthew Vaughn breathed new life into espionage (Kingsman) and superhero films (X-Men: The Beginning) conceiving moments of pulp bravery defying the laws of gravity, coupled with restraint and British humor. Its recipe falls flat in Argylle, whose ugliness of special effects and errors in the connections in the fight scenes are a test for the eyes. Starting from a good idea - a novelist (Bryce Dallas Howard, Jurassic World) kidnapped by an intelligence agency because what she writes is too close to reality - the scenario nip her in the bud quickly enough to move on extremely predictable paths. Former Superman Henry Cavill has a lot of fun lending his features to the special agent, born from the pen of Elizabeth. But contrary to what his name at the top of the poster suggests, his screen time is very limited. In short, move on. C.J.

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