By Roger Costa
Director Emmanuelle Bercot’s latest directorial effort is a deeply moving, intimate and heavy drama centered on the co-dependent relationship between an aging mother and her dying son. Anchored by strong performances from Catherine Deneuve and Benoit Magimel as the protagonists, the film surprisingly avoids any conventional and old-fashioned cancer-related narrative styles, to rise up as a powerful portrait of solidarity and perseverance. Bercot’s film grabs the viewer’s affection the same way one young character announces her visit to her ailing acting tutor: everyone needs affection. The sequence is filled with hope and enthusiasm, just like life itself despite its troubles. It turns out this inspiring, sad and incredibly emotional drama is about relationships stranded by an irreversible, fatal challenge: the failed actor turned tutor must face his own fears in order to adjust his bond to his mother; the determined doctor and his head nurse running the hospital with dignity and commitment while offering their patients the best, and most cheerful treatment imaginable; the young aspiring actors who depend on his ability to guide and shape their talents; and the unexpected arrival of an unknown son, which happens to be sort of a cliché, but it works fine and immediately inserts another attribute to the narrative. It is a very touching, triumphantly humane and masterly performed farewell drama.
(Distrib Films US. 10/28. Quad Cinema).
A passionate project helmed by ten film graduates, this controversial drama reveals the tempestuous behavior of genius Orson Welles. It introduces us to the first steps into art of the great man, right before he achieves fame and respect as one of history’s most visionary and influential filmmakers. This is late 30’s and the young, recklessly genial artist and revolutionary is determined to adapt Shakespeare’s Macbeth with an all-Black cast in Harlem. While brilliantly focusing on the devotion to art of those courageous pioneers, the film coherently addresses racial, sexual and social conflicts through the forbidden gay affair between the two leading men, including a famous unbeatable boxer, the secrets involving a single mother and her child, the illness of an actress, and most efficiently the turbulent marriage of Welles and actress Virginia Welles, and his compulsive drug and drinking habits. Winner of the Audience Award at several film festivals such as Sedona, San Diego and Charlotte Black Film Festival, it is a satisfying, provoking and very curious historical piece of art.
(Lightyear Entertainment. 10/28. Village East Cinemas.)
A contemplative, unique and utterly sensitive debut, Charlotte Wells’ Cannes award-winning coming of age drama centers on the emotional bond between divorced father and daughter as they spend vacation days in a resort in Turkey. A brilliantly composed account on her own memories, the influence and strong relationship with her father, the film announces her as a major new voice in the art. Paul Mescal and Francesca Corio are also revelations. They are gripping and convincing as father and daughter, embodying their characters with affecting chemistry. Certainly, one of this year’s most assured debuts. (A24. 10/28. Film at Lincoln Center).
THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
Kieslowski’s enlightening, erotic, delicate and most vulnerable film brings Irene Jacob in a mesmerizing double role that granted her the Best Actress Award in Cannes. His extraordinary sensibility and approach to important themes such as life, death, spirituality, compassion, ambition and desire, as well as the way he inventively immerses the viewer into the music, the elegance of the imagery and its impactful, hypnotic effect, are all over this romantic fable about two identical women living in different places, Paris and Warsaw, at the same time and connected through many ways, but predominantly thru music, circumstances and human instinct. A classic that remains beautifully seductive and beguiling. (Janus Films. 10/28. Film at Lincoln Center).